Swiss company loses US$270K court challenge

Source: Swiss company loses US$270K court challenge –Newsday Zimbabwe

SWITZERLAND-REGISTERED energy firm, Addax Energy SA, has lost a High Court bid to force a local company to settle an outstanding fuel debt of US$269 735,88 in foreign currency.

Addax Energy cited the respondent in the matter as C and T Mining Private Limited which insisted on clearing the debt in local currency.

 

Addax is a company registered in Geneva, Switzerland and it procures petroleum fuels from the United Arab Emirates, India and Russia to supply the Zimbabwean market.

In its declaration, Addax claimed that it delivered diesel worth US$1 379 601 to C and T Mining with an agreement for payment to be made within 14 days.

C and T Mining did not pay for the fuel, resulting in Addax terminating the contract on June 1, 2022, and demanding return of the fuel.

Addax later abandoned its original claim and demanded US$269 735,88 for fuel deliveries. C and T then offered to settle the debt in local currency at the applicable rate, but Addax refused.

 

In court, Addax, represented by Iddo Tonderai Mudavanhu, said C and T Mining was their client.

He told the court that the fuel was paid for in US dollars as Addax operated a transitory offshore account with the local Ecobank bank. Mudavanhu also told the court that Addax enjoyed approvals from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to trade locally in foreign currency.

 

The respondent, represented by Felix Chinhamo said the two parties did not have a specific agreement.

High Court judge Justice Joseph Chilimbe ruled in favour of C and T Mining, saying Addax did not explain fully why it needed payment in foreign currency.

“This evidence is pivotal. Addax produced no effective counter to this averment. There was reference by its witness to some regulatory dispensation. But this was neither further explained nor proven,” Chilimbe said.

“The fact that a product was imported into the country will not, on its own, qualify obligations arising therefrom as foreign obligation.

“I am, therefore, not satisfied that plaintiff (Addax) has made out its case that the amount admitted as owing was a foreign debt. In that regard, judgment will be awarded on the admitted portion,” the judge ruled dismissing Addax application.

He then ordered C and T Mining to pay the debt in local currency at the prevailing exchange rate on the date of settlement.

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