BY PROBLEM MASAU GEOGENIX BV has threatened to take Harare City Council to court after it failed to pay the May invoice of US$780 000.
Harare has refused to settle the bill after resolving to suspend the US$320 million agreement for the management of the Pomona dumpsite, until a special committee set up by Harare mayor Jacob Mafume looks into the terms of the deal.
Last month, Harare councillors voted to have the controversial contract cancelled, citing breaches of procurement processes and failure to consult Harare residents.
Initially, Harare City Council had agreed to pay US$22 000 per day in a waste to energy deal at the dumpsite.
In a strongly worded letter to the council seen by NewsDay, Geogenix BV executive chairperson Delish Nguwaya said the city council had shown no interest to pay the bill.
He said the outstanding invoice would incur 12% interest, and claimed that the purported suspension of the deal was null and void.
“Article 29.2 of the concession agreement provides that failure to pay the invoices for a period of more than 30 days from the period they come due and payable warrants a contracting authority event of default. In addition thereto, we
note that the City of Harare’s official actions thus far leads us to reasonably believe it does not intend to meet its contractual obligations to pay the May 2022 service fees in the short term either,” Geogenix BV said.
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“We once again reiterate that your letter dated June 10, 2022 in which you attempt to notify us of a suspension of the concession agreement has no basis, as the legal relationship between us and the City of Harare is regulated by the terms of the concession agreement. Consequently, it strictly provides for certain procedures to be followed, of which a suspension of concession agreement is not provided for.”
The standoff comes at a time when documents leaked to NewsDay from a special council meeting showed that some councillors linked to the Citizens Coalition for Change were also part of the city fathers who recommended and adopted a memorandum of understanding for the joint venture between the City of Harare and Geogenix BV on the waste to energy project.
The documents also show that most senior staff in the meeting, including the town clerk, finance director, human capital director, director for works and director for housing and community services were in acting capacity.
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume insists that the contract was awarded by Cabinet and had nothing to do with CCC councillors. “As the mayor, I have not approved that contract. It has nothing to do with CCC. That was a contract approved by the Cabinet, and it was pushed by the Cabinet. We have no interest in that contract. It is against the residents, it destroys the resident’s interests,” he said.
However, documents show that CCC secretary for elections Ian Makone was among the councillors that attended the June 29 council special meeting at Town House to approve the contentious deal.
Acting town clerk Phakamile Moyo wrote to Geogenix BV on July 2 updating the company on what the council meeting had resolved.
“Please be advised that the joint committee meeting dated June 29, 2021 considered a report on the proposed joint venture partnership between City of Harare and Geogenix BV on the waste to energy project and resolved, among other issues, that council authorises the acting town clerk to negotiate,” the letter reads.
Mafume sought to distance CCC councillors, saying only those who were elected during the March 26 by-elections were bona fide party councillors.
“The 26 councillors who were elected during the by-elections are the only ones who are linked to CCC,” Mafume said and when asked on the issue of Makone, who is CCC secretary for elections but was elected on an MDC Alliance ticket and was never recalled.
He responded: “A person is linked to CCC if he was elected on that ticket, the likes of Makone where elected on an MDC Alliance ticket.”
After a public outcry over the deal, Mafume appointed a special investigation committee to probe the Pomona deal chaired by Makone.
“I chose him because he is a councillor not because of his political affiliation,” Mafume said.
However, NewsDay has it on good authority that Makone is one of CCC’s senior members. Makone addressed a Press conference on February 16 this year briefing journalists on the preparedness of CCC for March by-elections in his capacity as the party’s secretary for elections.