Friday, June 14, 2013

Peter Ndlovu wins $55 000 case against his former boss

Peter Ndlovu
THE High Court has ordered Twalumba Holdings to pay former Highfield United player and coach Peter Ndlovu signing-on fees to the tune of US$55 000.
Ndlovu took Twalumba, the owners of Highfield United, to the High Court claiming the outstanding fees after his contract with the football club was terminated.
Twalumba should have paid Ndlovu the money or a house of the same value immediately after signing or within the month of signing.
Justice Mary Zimba-Dube ruled in favour of Ndlovu after finding that there was a valid contract between Twalumba and Ndlovu and that the football legend was entitled to the money.
“The court is satisfied that the parties entered into a valid contract whose consequences the defendant must comply with, the plaintiff has shown on a balance of probabilities that he is entitled to the claim.
“The fact that the plaintiff is now claiming money instead of the house is entirely his choice.
“The defendant (Twalumba) shall pay to the plaintiff the sum of US$55 000 with interest thereon at the prescribed rate from the date of summons to the date of full payment,” read the operative part of the judgment.
Harare lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm represented Ndlovu while Sinyoro and Partners law firm acted for Twalumba.
It was the court’s finding that Twalumba committed itself to buying the house worth US$55 000 and its defence that the parties had agreed to sign a football contract at a later stage was “nonsensical”.
“All the financial terms of the contract were fulfilled by the defendant except the term relating to the purchase of the house, the defendant’s conduct in meeting all the other benefits shows that it intended to be bound by the contract.
“The defendant has chosen to renege on the term pertaining to the house because it is more onerous.
“The court is not persuaded by the defendant’’s stance that the memorandum of agreement (MOA) was just a prenuptial contract and the parties had agreed to sign a football contract at a later stage.
“The submission is nonsensical and does not accord with this clause (5.7 of the MOA),” the judge ruled.
On January 8 2011, the parties entered into a MOA to promote the development of football in Binga as a way of ploughing back to the community.
Twalumba engaged Ndlovu’s services in spearheading the programme using his skills as a veteran soccer player and coach.
The company wanted to use part of its profits to empower the Binga community through information, knowledge and skills development and sharing.
Twalumba was desirous of establishing a vibrant team and a soccer academy targeting young people in Binga.
Ndlovu, using his expertise, would play, develop the game in Zimbabwe and inspire the growth of Highfield United Football Club.
According to the agreement, Ndlovu would use his personal vehicle while Twalumba had the responsibility of providing fuel and vehicle maintenance.
Twalumba undertook to pay Ndlovu a monthly salary of US$2 500 per month.
They agreed on signing-on fees of US$55 000 or a purchase of a house of the same value.
After playing five friendly matches for Highfield United, Ndlovu was loaned to Black Mambas FC on a season’s free loan.
On July 1 2011, Twalumba terminated the MOA citing breach of contract on the part of Ndlovu.
It was alleged that Twalumba had failed to derive any benefit from its association with Ndlovu as agreed.
Twalumba refuted that Ndlovu had a soccer playing contract with Highfield United entitling him to signing-on fees.
The company contended that Ndlovu did not cooperate with it in establishing a formal partnership in terms of the MOA and that no mutual benefit materialised from it.
It was Twalumba’s argument that Ndlovu refused to sign a football contract and that granting Ndlovu the claimed money was a form of unjust enrichment.


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