BY CHARLES LAITON
The Midlands State University (MSU) has been ordered by the High Court to pay Galaxy Engineering Designs Consultants (Pvt) Ltd over US$3 207 450,68 for the civil engineering services provided to the tertiary institution in 2003.
The order was made by High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero on July 24, 2019 after the engineers took the university to court for breach of contract and refusal to pay for structural engineering works on certain buildings at the campus and for the master site service.
The court heard that the MSU had been refusing to pay the money, arguing that the engineering firm did not complete the work it was supposed to carry out, according to the parties’ contract.
However, when the matter was brought before the judge for determination, the MSU called its witness, one engineer Innocent Masunungure, who the court said was
not impressive in the manner he presented his evidence on behalf of the university.
“The defendant’s (MSU) witness (Masunungure) contradicted the statement of agreed facts in fundamental respects. I was also unimpressed with the demeanour of
the defendant’s witness. He was evasive under cross-examination. It was clear to me that he was simply ducking and diving in a desperate endeavour to avoid the
truth,” Justice Chikowero said.
“The end result is that I will accept the plaintiff’s (Galaxy Engineering Designs Consultants (Pvt) Ltd) testimony wherever it conflicts with that of the
defendant. The plaintiff clearly stated that it was commissioned by defendant to design and produce drawings or plans for use by contractors in erecting the
structures or facilities so designed … the contract could not be so broken unless the design for the whole work under it had been done.”
The judge further said much of the evidence presented by the engineering firm, through its witness Wilfred Tamayi Vengesai, went unchallenged.
“In the result, defendant shall pay to the plaintiff interest on the sum of US$84 828,17 at the rate of 19.5% per annum from November 1, 2010 to the date that
the sum was paid. US$3 207 450,68 together with interest thereon at 19,5% per annum to the date of full payment and cost of suit,” he ordered.