Business deal turns sour

Source: Business deal turns sour -Newsday Zimbabwe

GUNSHOTS were fired on Monday when a local company tried to forcibly enter a Chinese-owned company  Hwange Coal Gasification (HCG) in Hwange to seize coke using an allegedly fraudulent court order, NewsDay established.

HCG’s security fired warning shots against a team deployed by its former business partners Philcool Investments (Pvt) Limited which allegedly tried to seize coke.

The security personnel was joined by the company’s employees during the tense stand-off which occurred in evening.

Philcool officials were in the company of a Victoria Falls deputy sheriff when HCG refused to allow the company access to its property after querying the High Court order.

On Monday, High Court judge  Justice Never Katiyo allegedly granted Philcool a provisional order to remove 3 800 tonnes of coke from HCG’s processing plant without any interference or hindrance from the police.

Philcool which is being represented by Shephard Tundiya is the applicant in the case while Home Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is cited as the first respondent.

Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga, officer commanding Matabeleland North province, officer commanding Hwange district, officer-in-charge of Hwange Police Station and the Deputy Sheriff are cited as second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondent, respectively.

The application was allegedly filed under case number HCL 2575/24.

“The 1st to the 5th respondents are hereby ordered not to interfere with the Deed of Settlement dated 10th day of October 2022. The applicant may execute the order by consent referred in paragraph 1 of the order of court carrying 3 800 tonnes of coke from number 2 processing plant without any interference or hindrance from the 1st to the 5th respondents,” the alleged judgment read in part.

The judge also ordered the Deputy Sheriff to execute the order.

“In the event that the 1st to the 5th respondents refuse to comply with this order, the 6th respondent or his lawful deputy shall be authorised to carry into execution paragraph 1 of the order by consent dated the 5th of November 2022.”

However, HCG said the judgment was fraudulent resulting in the stand-off that saw security guards firing warning shots as the situation got tense on Monday evening.

One HCG official said they have since filed a police report.

“We have applied for a stay of execution and rescission of the order.

“We have also reported the cases under RRB No 5828608 Assault and RRB No 5829609 Malicious Damage to company property,” a manager, who requested anonymity, said.

No comment could be obtained from Matabeleland North police and Philcool representatives.

HCG officials said they could not comply with the High Court as it was fraudulent.

“That the provisional order HCH2575/24 was granted without citing HCGC. HCGC has no obligation to comply with it,” the official said.

“HCGC is not cited as respondent, though the order seeks for relief that significantly affected HCGC’s interest. We only learned about the order on 18 June when the sheriff came.

“From the appearance of the provisional order, no sit-down was held. The sheriff does not have a writ of execution yet he insists on executing.

“The sheriff later agreed the order is not executable but still insisted on taking the coke. He said it was an order from his boss in Harare. Is it an execution of an order or theft???.”

In 2022 ,  former Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Martin Makonese ordered HCG to pay close to US$2,8 million and more than $600 000 to Philcool for damages and loss of business.

The two companies entered into a six-year transportation deal in October 2017 for the latter to transport 2 000 metric tonnes of coal. The deal went sour, and the matter spilled into courts.