Company takes government to court

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A COMPANY, which was initially awarded a US$19 million contract to supply maize to the country before the government terminated the deal, is seeking a High Court interdict to overturn the invalidation of the agreement.

Blue Chip, trading as Tbacha (Pvt) Ltd (Tbacha), want the respondents, Finance ministry, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), interdicted and restrained by the court from cancelling the supply contract and allow the delivery of the maize.

They also sought to have the respondents compelled to make timely payments in line with the agreement.

There is also a pending summons matter in which Tbacha is demanding US$3 million damages for cancellation of the contract.

In an affidavit deposed by Tbacha director Nyasha Chabata, the company executive argued that the balance of convenience favoured the applicant because the government still needs maize and has allowed other parties to import maize from South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania.

“Covid-19 is just being used as a red herring because we face food shortages and the government has even gone to appeal for food for over seven million people due to the drought. Obviously, my order will not disturb the respondents at all because they are still buying maize,” Chabata said.

However, in the notice of opposition by GMB officer Obert Paradzayi, the government urged the court to dismiss Tbacha’s application arguing there was nothing urgent about their application.

“The claim that the government intends to receive kickbacks by buying from other parties is one that must be substantiated in the evidence. Applicants must state who is in line to benefit from these kick-backs as it is unfair to make such a sweeping statement against an entire government,” Paradzayi said.

“If applicant seeks to make averments against the government of Zimbabwe … then it becomes pertinent that the government of Zimbabwe be joined as a party.”
Tbacha submitted that they faced mortal financial death in the event that the current situation continued.

Tbacha claims that they had incurred over US$1 million in debt sourced from credit lines and allege a possibility of loss of over US$10 million worth of maize to weather, lack of storage and theft.

 

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