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NSSA Appeal Against $30 Million Housing Deal Ruling Moves Forward

The National Social Security Authority’s (NSSA) appeal against a High Court decision, which upheld an arbitration award compelling it to pay a housing corporation US$30 million in a failed housing deal, will proceed after the Supreme Court dismissed a motion to disqualify one of the judges assigned to the appeal bench.

The appeal stems from a botched housing deal between NSSA and Housing Corporation Zimbabwe (HCZ), which resulted in an arbitration award requiring NSSA to pay US$30 million to HCZ. Despite NSSA having already paid US$16 million to HCZ, the arbitration award demanded an additional US$30 million in damages.

NSSA challenged the High Court’s decision to uphold the arbitration award, arguing that it was irregular as it held NSSA liable for damages not stipulated in the contract. However, the High Court allowed the registration of the arbitral award, deeming NSSA’s challenges insufficient to invalidate the ruling.

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In response, NSSA initiated an appeal to overturn the High Court decision. As part of the legal process, HCZ objected to Justice Tendai Uchena’s involvement in the case, citing concerns of bias due to his prior involvement in related proceedings. However, the Supreme Court rejected HCZ’s bid to remove Justice Uchena from the appeal bench, ruling that HCZ failed to demonstrate a real likelihood of bias on the part of Justice Uchena.

In her judgment, Justice Antonia Guvava, sitting alongside Justice Uchena and Justice Samuel Kudya, dismissed HCZ’s application for Justice Uchena’s recusal, stating that a judge’s prior involvement in preliminary issues does not automatically warrant recusal unless there is clear evidence of bias.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu, instructed by Zigomo and Musarira Law, represents NSSA in the appeal, while Advocate Daniel Tivadar, instructed by Mawere Sibanda Commercial Lawyers, represents HCZ.



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