Contractor sues school over US$40 000 debt

A CONTRACTOR has dragged a Harare private school — Atlantic Academy — to the High Court demanding US$41 000 from the institution over an unpaid road construction deal.

In the application, Blessing Muzirecho cited the school and its director Bernard Mufokozana as respondents.

“Sometime in February 2021, the plaintiff and defendants entered into an oral agreement for the construction of a one-kilometre tarred stretch, with the width of three metres from Arcturus Road leading to Atlantic Academy. 

“The whole project for the road construction was estimated to cost US$200 000 and it was on a fix and supply basis.

“To date, 1st respondent has made the following instalments towards the project: … US$26 144, which amount was paid on January 21, 2021 and US$49 012 and all these instalments were for mobilisation of equipment and dumping,” the court heard.

Muzirecho told the court that the school was now accusing him of embezzling project funds after the expenses incurred during the construction surpassed the estimated costs.

“It is apparent that as a result of changes, the project costs ballooned creating a variance from what had been initially estimated as more material and equipment were used to meet the said changes.

“After some time, the 2nd defendant started to express disquiet and displeasure regarding how the plaintiff had used the project funds.

“Spurious allegations of embezzlement of funds were made regardless of the fact that there had been changes to the estimated project costs,” he said, adding that the school had kicked him out of the project, leaving him owing money to his suppliers.

“On the 31st of March 2021, plaintiff visited the project site, only to find that the defendants had resumed the project in the absence of the plaintiff, in blatant breach of the agreement that was in existence.

“The plaintiff has been left owing suppliers the sum of US$10 500 which money is due and payable. The plaintiff has also lost income which was due from his performance of the contract with the defendants till the completion of the project,” he said.

He is now demanding a total of US$40 950 for expenses incurred, contractual damages and loss of income.

The school is yet to respond to the application, which is pending before the High Court.