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Govt cracks whip on Harare City over non-payment of Pomona deal

Local Government Minister July Moyo has directed the Harare City Council (HCC) to reverse their decision to refuse to pay for the controversial Pomona project which will see the City pay a Mnangagwa linked company at least US$22 000 a day and US$14,6m a year, translating to more than US$344 million for 30 years.

HCC entered into a US$320 million Pomona waste-to-energy joint venture with Netherlands based company Geogenix B.V. It is meant to turn waste into energy.

The deal which has caused public outcry 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.

CCC councillors led by HCC Mayor Jacob Mafume recently had a meeting to cancel the deal claiming it was done corruptly.

The company, however, submitted a US$750 000 invoice for the work done in May. But HCC claimed they were not going to pay.

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Consequently, Moyo has written to the HCC directing them to pay the May fees or risk accruing more interests.

“Pursuant to the passing of the resolutions, your Council, through the office of the Town Clerk, advised the Ministry, through a letter dated 10 June 2022, that they were unable to pay the sum invoiced for the month of May,” Moyo said in a letter dated July 7.

“In terms of your contract, the passing of a resolution does not in any way expunge the obligations set out in the contract by operation of law. The obligations remain pending unless and until a consensus is reached by the contracting parties.

“Needless to say, the failure and or neglect to pay the May invoice has serious repercussions, not only with respect to Council’s obligations, but also on the Government who is the Guarantor of the project.

“Your failure and or neglect to pay has resulted in accumulation of arrears including interest due to the project.

“In my considered view, the above mentioned resolutions were gratuitous and not in the interests of the inhabitants of Harare and the public at large, a burden which is now cascading to the inhabitants and therefore cannot be allowed.

“In any case, in our reading of your contract with Geogenix B.V there is no provision for unilateral action by either Party to suspend the same..

“I accordingly direct, in terms of section 314 (1) of the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15], that Council immediately rescinds the resolutions cited above which seek to suspend the contract between the City of Harare and Geogenix B.V on the Pomona Waste to Energy project,” Moyo wrote.