THE excommunicated former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, has been ordered to pay $428,000 to the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, because he sold off church assets at a knock-down price after he was removed from office.
Kunonga and four of his followers have been told by a High Court judge that they must repay the real market value of the shares, plus interest, The Harare Times reports.
Kunonga, an ally of Robert Mugabe, was stripped of his holy orders in 2008, but he remained head of a breakaway group, which has been in legal dispute with the Anglican Church over property ever since.
In 2012, a decision by the Supreme Court ended the six-year legal battle between Kunonga’s group and the Anglican Church. It ruled that the group was no longer part of the Church of the Province of Central Africa, and must surrender all property belonging to it (News, 30 November 2012).
The High Court judge, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, has now ruled that Kunonga must also return the money from sales of shares in companies listed on the Zimbabwe stock exchange.
Kunonga sold the shares for $270,000 in 2007, but Justice Mathonsi said that the Anglican Church was entitled to repayment of the true value of the shares, plus the interest they would have earned.
He said: “I agree that the value purportedly realised by the defendants, namely $270,000, when they decided to give away the shares at a bargain, does not come into it. The plaintiff is entitled to the true value of the shares at the time they were sold.
“The defendants had no business selling them at a bargain. For doing so, they must carry the cross for their lack of diligence.”