Douglas Munatsi footprints in scandal ridden Pomona deal revealed
The late Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) chief executive officer Douglas Munatsi played a crucial role in the formative stages of the controversial Pomona Waste to Energy joint venture between the Harare City Council (HCC) and Netherlands based company Geogenix B.V.
The US$320 million deal which has caused public outcry with substantive Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume claiming it was done corruptly, was recommended by the city fathers who among them include three councillors from the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Ian Makone, Loice Gomba and Elvis Ruzani.
HCC is expected to pay at least US$22 000 per day for dumping waste at Pomona dumpsite which has already been handed over to Geogenix B.V.
Documents with Nehanda Radio reveal that Munatsi is the one who organised a trip to Albania and Italy for government officials, engineers and HCC officials to undertake a due diligence on similar projects by the company.
In a letter dated August 11, 2021, Munatsi recommended a trip from 5 to 15 September for the delegation. The tour was funded entirely by Geogenix B.V.
“Pursuant to the approval by Government of the proposed partnership between City of Harare and Geogenix B.V. for the Harare Waste Management project, the Government of Zimbabwe delegation intends to undertake a due diligence on similar projects by your company in Italy and in Albania over the 5-15 September 2021,” read the letter copied to Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda.
The delegation consisted of: Acting town clerk Phakamile Moyo, acting director Norman Karidza, acting chief engineer Calvin Chigariro, acting head Keith Mapunza Moyo and an acting chamber secretary only identified as W Chiwawa.
“A small delegation from the above will proceed to Albania and we will notify you of the names in due course.
“We therefore await to receive an invitation letter, so that we can begin processing VISAS and other necessary arrangements for the trip,” further read the letter signed by Munatsi.
Makone, Gomba and Ruzani were among the councillors who attended the June 29, 2021 council special meeting at Town House to approve the deal and gave the green light to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between HCC and Geogenix BV.
Acting town clerk Moyo (Phakamile) 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,” Moyo’s letter read.
One of the deal’s sticking terms and conditions is the US$40 charged per tonne of waste by Geogenix B.V, with an expected minimum delivery of 550 tonnes; that then translates to US$22 000 per day.
The amount is paid whether the council fails to deliver the 550 tonnes.
Mafume has since organised a committee to investigate the deal. The decision, however, is raising suspicions of irregularities because Makone is deemed conflicted because he participated in the formative stages of the deal.
Asked on Twitter why he appointed Makone to lead the investigation team, Mafume said: “The deal was approved this year chief. That’s a meeting of MOU a none binding routine procedure. The MOA is the binding agreement which was done this year. Those are last year’s minutes. Look at the dates of your minutes carefully chief.”
Meanwhile, the company has since billed council US$780 000 for work which they have done on site for May and a similar figure for June, but the local authority is refusing to pay resulting in the company’s executive chairperson Delish Nguwaya, warning that the outstanding invoice will incur 12% interest if not settled on time.