BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
A LOCAL contractor is struggling to secure payment from the Home Affairs ministry after constructing a classroom block and staff quarters at a school in Chihota two years ago.
Unimax Hardware of Marondera was contracted by the Gaming and Lotteries Department to construct state-of-the-art infrastructure at St David’s Nyandoro Primary School, but the company is yet to be paid its dues amounting to $38 000.
The official opening of the classroom blocks and teachers’ house was graced by Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema on November 28 last year.
According to one of the numerous letters dated November 26 and signed by Unimax Hardware managing director, a M Mashayamombe, the contractor bemoaned how the Lotteries and Gaming Board has been failing to pay them.
“It is disheartening to note that the commissioning of projects that we undertook at your school last year (2017) will take place despite the fact that our invoices still remain unpaid. This has placed a huge burden on our business despite persistent requests for payment. We have been battling for our payments to no joy,” the letter read.
The letter is addressed to the school, Lotteries and Gaming Board, Home Affairs ministry, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Aplonia Munzverengi’s office and Wedza-Marondera Senator Sydney Sekeramayi.
According to invoices attached to the letter, Unimax Hardware is owed US$38 089,95 for the two buildings. The letter also revealed that on October 9, 2018, the Lotteries and Gaming Board paid $11 801 into Unimax Hardware’s CBZ Bank account before renegading on paying the rest.
“An amount of $11 801 was paid on October 9, 2018, nine months after submitting invoices. No communication has been made (regarding) what was paid for. Neither do we know when the balance will be paid. The present economic scenario has left us in a depressive situation for this has cost us and our return on investment has been grossly eroded with valuable time spent trying to get your attention,” the letter added.
The Lotteries and Gaming Board, which falls under the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage ministry, has funded a number of developmental projects countrywide, mainly in the rural areas.
Lotteries and Gaming Board chief executive Heavens Gonga professed ignorance over the matter and said he does not know if the name of the contractor exists.
“I do not know what you are talking about. I do not know even the name (of the contractor). Are they the ones who gave you the letters and my phone numbers in Harare?” Gonga asked.
Officials at Unimax Hardware yesterday confirmed that they are yet to be paid the outstanding money and that they have been in contact with Gonga for the past two years, but to no avail.