Police sued over $400k 'debt'

HARARE - A $400 000 dispute between a construction company and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has spilled to the High Court which will hold a hearing in the legal battle stemming from a $4 million borehole drilling project.

According to court papers, Water Logistics offered its services in police projects which include drilling boreholes, water reticulation and provision of water and sanitation at police stations across the country.

The total invoice for the whole project was $4 532 732, 40, and police paid $4 077 899, 59.

In the application, the firm cited police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, deputy commissioner-general and director of finance at police headquarters as respondents.

“After being engaged in January 2012 through a verbal agreement, the plaintiff (Water Logistics) provided its skills, spares, equipment and all other paraphernalia,” the company said.

The court heard that the company carried out work at different police stations across the country and payments were made at various intervals between January 2012 and October 2015.

“From a reconciliation done with the defendant’s legal department and discussions held with representatives of the third and fourth defendants, it was agreed that plaintiff was owed $454 832, 81 for work done in 2014 and 2015,” the court heard.

The company further told the court that several meetings were convened at Chihuri’s offices and the parties agreed on what was to be paid on the job done.

“Despite repeated demand for payment of the balance owing to the plaintiff the defendant have refused, failed and/or neglected to pay the sum owing. No reasonable explanation has been given for refusal to honour dues for services rendered,” the court heard.

According to the company’s chief executive officer Munyaradzi Chifamba, his firm carried out its duties diligently.

“Plaintiff also carried out work at some of the officers’ homes upon their request and their relatives for which charges have not yet been levied as they indicated they would pay separately,” Chifamba said.

In its response, the police denied owing the company saying the claims by the firm were baseless.

“The defendants shall lead evidence from four witnesses and shall reserve the right to call more witnesses should the need arise. The witnesses will state that there was no agreement that was reached between the parties on what Water Logistics was owed.

“The allegation by the plaintiff that there was an agreement is false,” the police said, adding that the amount being demanded had been altered three times.

“The discrepancies in the amount being claimed and with no hope of an agreement being reached called for professional expertise to evaluate for the works undertaken so as to advise ZRP on a fair and reasonable price for the works in the absence of a signed contract between the parties,” the police said, adding that Zunzanyika Associates, who are quantity surveyors, were in the process of evaluating the work done by the company, when the response was filed in February this year.

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