DIDG sues NRZ in botched tender deal
By Tamary Chikiwa
A LOCAL company and its associates have taken the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to court claiming to have lost US$236 million after the parastatal “unlawfully” terminated a tender it had awarded to the company.
DIDG (Private) Limited and DIDG (Pty) Limited through its lawyers Calderwood Bryce Hendrie and Partners filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court citing NRZ as the respondent.
The lawyers claimed that NRZ awarded the tender to the companies in October 2017 and then “unlawfully” terminated it on July 30, 2020.
Because of the termination, the court heard that DIDG (Private) Limited and its associates suffered damages to the tune of US$235 984 757, which the plaintiff will claim through a separate legal action. DIDG is demanding that the cancellation of the tender be rendered unlawful.
“NRZ, however, on March 2020 communicated it’s intention to cancel the tender despite oral and written representation by the plaintiff. The tender was then terminated on July 30,” the court heard.
“The termination was irregular in that the decision was not made by the defendant but was made by external forces, including the minister of Transport. “The reason was grossly not reasonable. The plaintiff had not breached any of the tender conditions,” the summons read.
It is alleged that in April 2017, NRZ through the then State Procurement Board floated a tender calling for prospective investors to provide funding, either in the form of debt and or equity, for the recapitalisation of its rail network and related infrastructure. The salient feature of the tender was that bidders had to provide evidence of financial capacity to fund the project to the tune of US$400 million. NRZ is yet to respond to the lawsuit.