A 70-YEAR-OLD indigenous farmer has approached the Sadc Tribunal to stop the government from evoking a statute that will result in the sale of his Nyazura farm.
Luke Tembani faces eviction from his farm after failing to honour a government debt, which is less than half the price of his property.
According to court documents, Tembani put up his farm as security for a loan he received from the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe in 1997 to finance his farming activities.
The documents do not reveal how much he got from the bank.
â€œTo finance these and other farming ventures, he took loans from the parastatal bank, now named the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (ABZ). In terms of the loan agreements, Tembaniâ€™s farm has been pledged as security for his debts,â€ reads the document. Â
However, things took a bad turn the same year when the economy started experiencing steep inflation resulting in interest rates rising rapidly.
The court papers allege Tembani successfully requested authorisation from the bank to subdivide the farm to enable him to sell an uninhabited smaller portion of the property to ensure his ability to honour his debts despite the economic difficulties.
His lawyers, however, argued that: â€œDue to exorbitant interests rates coupled with the in duplum rule and other circumstances, it was particularly difficult for Tembani to ascertain the balance of his loan account with ABZ.â€
According to the lawyers, even the bankâ€™s officials were at a loss to determine the balance as exhibited by their failure to satisfactorily verify the amount. Â
â€œEstimations ranged from Z$4 million to Z$15 million, and later from Z$5 million to Z$11 million,â€ said the lawyers in the application.Â Â
The Nyazura farmer disputed the evaluations, but never received a detailed account from ABZ.
Despite the uncertainty over the balance of the loan account and Tembaniâ€™s steps to secure funds to settle the debt, the ABZ invoked Section 38(2) of the Agricultural Finance Corporation Act (AFA), which authorised it to take over the farm.Â â€” Staff Writer.