High Court Judge Dismisses Depositor’s US$179 000 Debt Claim From CABS
A High Court judge has dismissed an application by a local pensioner, Duncan Hugh Cocksedge, who was seeking reimbursement of his US$179 541 by CABS.
ZimLive reported that Cocksedge approached the courts for redress after his US$179 000 bank balance which was being held in a CABS account was wholly converted to local currency through the government’s Exchange Control Directive RT120/2018.
In his ruling, Justice Webster Chinamhora averred that it was not for the courts to change “political questions”.
The judge stated that the regulation of banking activities to achieve economic stability and protect the banking public was the prerogative of the Executive. He said:
Put differently, how the government makes policies aimed to achieve monetary stability and incentivise the generation of foreign exchange in the national interest is a political question, best left to the politicians.
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Courts in this jurisdiction are familiar with the political questions doctrine and how to deal with a case where this arises.
No basis exists, in my view, for not deferring to the minister who made the policy decision on behalf of the Executive.
The judge also said Cocksedge had not shown his court that the deposit in his account was realised from offshore or foreign currency cash deposits. He added:
The applicant has not shown that the provisions of the Exchange Control Directive RT120/2018 and the Finance (No.2) Act 2019 are not laws of general application.
As a result, I do not find any merit in the applicant’s argument and am inclined to dismiss his application.
Cocksedge’s claim was for reimbursement of his US$179 541 by CABS.
In his alternative claim, Cocksedge said the conduct of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Finance Minister was “unlawful, grossly unreasonable and irrational”.
He said the changes in law, effectively amount to unlawful and unconstitutional expropriation of value.
CABS did not dispute that Cocksedge had deposited US$179 541.45 before February 2023.
It said its banking services are regulated by RBZ adding that it had no disputes with the latter.
The central bank argued that Cocksedge had no right to challenge the provisions of the Exchange Control Directive.
It said CABS had acted according to the law and as such, Cocksedge could not try to impugn a lawful act.
The Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube argued that the Exchange Control Directive does not take away Cocksedges rights.
In his application, Cocksedge had cited CABS as the first respondent and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as the second respondent.
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