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Pomona deal: Pay up or face “serious consequences,” Harare City told

HARARE – July Moyo led Local Government ministry has ordered the Harare City Council to pay up a US$780,890 debt accumulated from the Pomona Waste Management deal or face “serious consequences.”

Harare City Council Mayor Jacob Mafume has previously said the local authority will not pay a cent to GeoGenix B.V – the owners of the contract – adding that the deal does not have the backing of residents and was unprocedurally signed.

In a letter to Harare City Council, Local Government permanent secretary Ruvinga Churu said the “action not to pay has serious consequences.”

“I have taken note of the contents of the letter dated 10 June 2022 in which you state that you are unable to pay the invoice raised by GEO Pomona in the amount of USD$ 780, 890.00 for the month of May,” Churu said.

“May I remind you that the action not to pay has serious consequences, not only with respect to Council’s obligations, but also on Government who is the Guarantor to the project. Failure to pay will result in accumulation of debt through interest, arrears, penalties and fees due and payable. The amount will become unsustainable should this stance be sustained beyond the May payment,” he continued.

“We request a response from yourselves that you will honour the bill for May as well as the other coming months as they fall due. It is thus our expectation that the operations at Pomona should continue uninterrupted and Council should abide by the contractual terms provided for in the existing contract.”

This comes after Local Government minister July Moyo ordered Harare City Council to cancel a resolution made by the local authority in its attempt to thwart the Pomona Waste Energy contract awarded to GeoGenix B.V.

Moyo has vowed to railroad the agreement insisting it is cast in stone by Cabinet approval and cannot be torpedoed by a local authority.

He recently took exception with a council resolution that instructed the Town Clerk the affidavits filed by Harare City Council with the High Court opposing the court case by the residents opposing the Pomona Waste Energy Project.

In turn, Harare City Council Mayor Jacob Mafume maintained that the agreement is between council and the investor and council has the authority to exercise its own discretion.

Mafume said the local authority will forge ahead after a full council special meeting held in early June begun steps to cancel the deal by adopting three motions, the third one being the one under fire from the minister.

“The Town Clerk receives authority from the Council on legal positions. And in this case, the council is simply communicating its decision or its position that needs to be communicated by the Town Clerk to the courts,” Mafume recently told Zim Morning Post.

“We cannot have a situation where how the Town Clerk responds is directed by an external body. The council has made a resolution on how it’s going to handle the court case. And that resolution is an administrative matter.

Mafume added that the section that Moyo uses is in variance with the principle of public interest.

“How can it be in the public interest for the Town Clerk to give a position that is different from his own Council? How can it be in the public interest to force council to pay US$20,000 per day even footballers in Europe do not get such amounts per day? How can it be in the public interest for the Town Clerk to support a position that says the Council must pay US$700,000 to throw away its own rubbish? It is not clear which public is being protected here by this directive,” Mafume said.