Lotto licence feud rages

THE impasse between a lottery and gaming company, Mashonaland Turf Club (MTC) and the President’s Fund over a lotto licence, has taken a new twist with the latter approaching the High Court to challenge a recent arbitration order allowing MTC to sue over the termination of their business agreement.

BY CHARLES LAITON

According to court papers, sometime in 1999, MTC and the Presidential Fund entered into an agreement in which the former was appointed to operate a lotto gaming business on behalf of the latter. The agreement was thereafter amended and executed by the parties in 2014.

However, in July 2017 both parties agreed to terminate the agreement and their association with each other, but they could not agree on the terms of the termination, prompting the MTC to approach the court for recourse.

The matter was then placed before arbitrator Daniel Tivadar, who on May 10, 2018, ruled in favour of MTC, prompting the President’s Fund to file an application for review by the High Court.

“Respondent (President’s Fund) argues that claimants’ (MTC) referral to arbitration in December 2017 was premature on the basis that at that time the respondent had not yet received notification that its licence had been renewed for the 2018. Respondent submits that the claimant’s purported renewal notice was absurd as it predicates the renewal of respondent’s license,” Tivadar said in his ruling.

“I follow the logic of the respondent’s point: however, it appears to me that the respondent may have misunderstood the cause of action pursued by the claimant in the proceedings before me. The claimant’s case is that the respondent’s purported termination of the agreement on notice was unlawful and amounted to repudiatory breach. It is on this basis that claimant seeks an award (i) declaring the purported termination as unlawful. (ii) specific performance (iii) damages. For the above reasons, I allow the claimant to continue to pursue its claim as pleaded.”

However, on May 31 the President’s Fund, represented by one Getrude Chikwava, approached the High Court challenging Tivadar’s findings.

“As appears from the decision, the proceedings were irregularly handled in that the learned arbitrator reversed the onus of proving the legality of the agreement onto the applicant instead of the first respondent as required by law,” she said.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

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