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CABS wins currency conversion challenge



THE High Court has dismissed an application by a Harare man seeking an order compelling local mortgage lender CABS to pay over US$150 000 in hard currency after his funds were converted to local currency following a change in the monetary system.

Duncan Hugh Cocksedge through his lawyers Tendai Biti at Law filed a court application against CABS, the Reserve Bank and ministry of Finance and Economic Development seeking a claim of US$179 541.45 to be paid within seven days of a judgment in favour of the claim plus 5% interest per annum on the sum backdating to 2016.

In his ruling, High Court judge Justice Webster Chinamora dismissed the claim, saying CABS acted in accordance with the country’s laws. In 2016, the authorities in Zimbabwe introduced bond notes as an export incentive and pegged the United States dollar at par with the Zimdollar, sparking a public outcry over the policy shift.

 Cocksedge, who held an account with CABS, approached the High Court, challenging the legality of the pieces of legislation used to change the country’s monetary system.

“I also find the claim for repayment in United States against CABS a bit cynical, given that the banking institution was only complying with the law,” ordered Justice Chinamora.

“In the result, it is ordered as follows:- the points in limine be and hereby dismissed. The applicant’s claim in the main be and is hereby dismissed. The applicant’s claim in the alternative be and is hereby dismissed.”

 Justice Chinamora also ordered the applicant to pay the first respondents’ costs on the attorney and client scale. While CABS did not dispute that it owed Cocksedge the said amount, the building society opposed the application on the basis that the activities of the financial institution were regulated by the Reserve Bank Act and the Banking Act.

The Reserve Bank, which is cited in the court papers as the second respondent, argued that Cocksedge had no locus standi (legal standing) to challenge a directive he was not privy to. The apex bank also averred that the relief sought by the applicant was incompetent at law.

The RBZ contended that CABS cannot be made to pay the sum demanded in the absence of an order invalidating statutory instruments 33/2019, 142/2019 and the Finance Act (No.2 of 2019). — STAFF WRITER

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