via Diamond Centre ordered to pay $4,3m | The Herald December 3, 2015
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The High Court has ordered the Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre (Pvt) Ltd (ZDTC) to pay $4,3 million plus interest to some seven construction firms that were involved in the construction of the giant diamond cutting and polishing structure in Mt Hampden. The seven companies — Kenmark Builders, Studio Arts Incorporated, NMC Consulting Engineers, Craft View Consultants, Vanguard Engineering Services, Ncube Burrow, Astra Steel and Engineering — sued ZDTC for varying amounts depending on the services they provided.
Failure or refusal by ZDTC to pay for the services prompted the group of engineering firms to jointly file a combined $4,5 million law suit at the High Court in 2011. Justice Mary Dube heard the arguments by all the parties involved and ruled in favour of the group of construction companies. She found that the firms had succeeded in proving their claim before ordering ZDTC to pay Kenmark its outstanding $1 623 954.
Justice Dube said Studio Arts was entitled to $1 011 683 for the services rendered while she ordered that Mazuva should get $593 254. Craftview will get $404 987 while Vanguard got an order for the payment of $442 199. Ncube Burrow will get $263 161 while Astra was awarded $51 837.
All the companies will get their dues plus interest calculated at the rate of 2 percent per annum calculated from the date when the payment became due to the date of payment in full.
The companies worked on the project before being elbowed out without payment. Their claim was based on the services rendered and the materials supplied for the project. According to court documents, ZDTC entered into agreements with each of the plaintiffs between January and July 2010 to provide services in the construction of the centre.
Such services ranged from the actual construction, architectural services, consulting and structural engineering, quantity surveying to mechanical and electrical engineering as well as the provision of reinforcement steel. ZDTC, in its plea, accepted that it entered into separate agreements with all the consultants, except Ken- mark.
ZDTC denied the existence of any contractual obligation between the two firms. It was ZDTC’s argument that the fugures claimed by the plaintiffs were unilateral and unreasonably high. The fees, according to ZDTC, were too high and they amounted to extortion.
The claims were unbudgeted for and were not based on actual work done. However, the court held that the seven companies had proved their case and that they must be paid. “I am satisfied that all the plaintiffs have proved their claims on a balance of probabilities and they are entitled to their claims,” ruled Justice Dube.