INDEPENDENT power producer, Helcraw Electrical, has won a court order to set up a 120-megawatt emergency power plant in Mutare after the Supreme Court last Friday dismissed a challenge filed by its competitor, Pito Investments.
Pito Investments had challenged the decision by the State Procurement Board (SPB) to withdraw its tender and subsequently award the tender to Helcraw Electrica.
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the court was not happy with the manner the matter was brought to the Supreme Court, adding Pito Investments had no appeal at all, judging by the fact that its application was filed out of time.
Malaba blasted Pito Investments’ lawyer, Ray Goba, and his instructing attorney, saying the court procedures required court officials to be vigilant and not sluggish in presenting their cases.
Malaba’s remarks followed submissions by Helcraw lawyer Tinofara Hove, who applied for the slapping of Pito Investments with costs at a higher scale, saying it had wasted the court’s time.
“The appellant (Pito Investments) wasted the court’s time and had to wait for the court to ask for it to refer to the calendar on whether there is a valid appeal or not,” Hove said.
“This is a clear case of wasting the court’s precious time by senior members of the law fraternity. The appellant did not seek to withdraw or concede its wrongness. Rather, a senior advocate should lead by example. A senior attorney should also lead by example and the court should send a clear message.
“Such conduct should meet the full wrath of the law by an award of costs on a higher scale.”
In his ruling, Malaba concurred with Hove and slapped Pito Investments with costs on a higher scale.
Pito Investments had approached the Supreme Court challenging High Court judge Justice Herbert Mandeya’s ruling dismissing its appeal on the basis it had been filed out of time.
Pito Investments had argued that sometime in 2014, the Zimbabwe Power Company recommended it as the winner of the bid, but the SPB later reneged on the move and awarded the same tender to Helcraw Electrical.
In its argument, Pito Investments said the tender process was deeply flawed and urged the court to set it aside.
But, the SPB, through its lawyer, Attorney-General representative Vernanda Munyoro, said everything had been done above board.