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Court rejects Astra Paint's bid to stop divorce as...

Court rejects Astra Paint's bid to stop divorce asset sharing over stolen funds

Nyashadzashe Ndoro

Astra Holdings Limited, trading as Astra Paints, has had its urgent chamber application for an interim interdict against Adrian Chulu and Cleolla Chulu dismissed by the High Court of Zimbabwe.

The application sought to prevent the Chulus from disposing of certain assets, including immovable property and motor vehicles, pending the determination of a dispute between Astra Paints and Adrian Chulu.

Astra Paints had alleged that Adrian Chulu, its former financial accountant, had defrauded the company of over US$359,696 and that the assets in question were proceeds of crime.

However, the court found that the assets had already been alienated to Cleolla Chulu and their minor child in terms of a consent paper signed on June 17, 2024, in their divorce proceedings.

The court held that the agreement between the parties in the divorce proceedings was sacrosanct and binding, and that it could not be set aside without a valid reason. 

The court also found that the applicant had not shown that it would suffer any irreparable harm if the court did not intervene on an urgent basis.

In his ruling, Justice Regis Dembure said: "The applicant can still wait for the finalisation of its action and decide what to do at the appropriate time. 'The horse has bolted' and there is nothing to preserve or seek to protect now. 

"I also find it to be mere conjecture and not a reasonable factual conclusion that the judgment if ever it is issued in favour of the applicant in the action matter will not be enforceable or will be a brutum fulmen. 

"The circumstances of this matter, in my view, do not call for the undue interference on the right of the second respondent, a third party, to the finality of her divorce litigation as has been submitted. It is not in the interests of justice for me to do so."

The court ordered that the application be struck off the roll of urgent applications and that Astra Paints shall bear the costs of the application on an ordinary scale.

Counsel for the applicant had argued that the matter was urgent and that the court should intervene to prevent the disposal of the assets. 

However, counsel for the respondents, submitted that the matter was not urgent and that the applicant had not shown that it would suffer any irreparable harm.

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