AirZim administrator presents debt settlement plan
BY CHIEDZA KOWO
AIR Zimbabwe (AirZim) has sent out debt settlement deals to its multitudes of creditors, including more than 300 former workers made redundant as the ailing airline has sunk into turmoil in recent years.
If creditors agree to the terms set out in the document, it could mark the start of the settlement of an estimated US $ 300 million debt accumulated by the common carrier over many years.
The airline took office in 2018 after a difficult decade in which its planes were grounded as the crisis worsened, with foreign airports threatening to seize its airliners for landing fees.
The AirZim crisis goes hand in hand with a regional trend that has seen once high-profile Southern African state airlines either liquidated, fall into court management, or continue under extremely difficult circumstances.
Reggie Saruchera, the boss of Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants, has been appointed a director of AirZim with the difficult mandate of raising capital, carrying out or shutting down any part of the business to successfully rebuild, operate all AirZim’s accounts and to admit any claims or claims against the airline.
In last week’s settlement plan, he said he had completed the verification and validation process that would automatically void any collateral held against the airline.
It was not clear whether the government had already released funds for unpaid debts in order to end a long-standing deadlock.
Saruchera was not available for comment yesterday.
But part of the settlement agreement he signed jointly with AirZim reads: “This agreement automatically voids any security held against the airline or charges on its properties and authorizes the administrator through the Master of the High Court to immediately quash these charges. “
“I / we cannot rely on any representation that would cause me / us to enter into this agreement, unless the representation is recorded in this agreement. No extrinsic evidence may be relied upon to interpret the provisions of this Agreement.
“This document is the only record of the agreement between me / us and the administrator and / or the airline regarding the payment of the amount due.
“Any modification of this Agreement, or any waiver related to this Agreement, will be void for all purposes except, in the event of any modification, it is agreed in writing and signed by or on behalf of the parties, or in the case of a waiver signed by or on behalf of the party granting the waiver.
“This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between me / us and the administrator and / or the airline regarding the payment of the amount due to me / us and I / we confirm that there is no collateral or additional agreements relating to this agreement. “
The workers had already been agitated by the late payments. In December, Saruchera was pressured to resign from his post due to “maladministration, incompetence, mismanagement and unwarranted and unlawful deprivation” of wages from workers sacked by the airline there. six years, which the airline had been ordered to reinstate by the courts.
In a landmark judgment on December 7, three Supreme Court justices ordered the national airline to reinstate workers in positions they held when they were sacked amid the height of controversial Zuva layoffs in July 2015 .
The judgment gave companies the green light to lay off workers on short notice.
This sparked massive cutbacks across industries as businesses used the shutdown to cut costs and survive a raging economic crisis.
Since the Supreme Court has declared AirZim restrictions illegal, a number of companies will find themselves in a dilemma if other affected workers take legal action.
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