By Mary Taruvinga
FORMER Harare Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda has been dragged to court on allegations of handpicking his former business partner to be the arbitrator in a business dispute with another company.
ZEMQOS, which is in vehicle parking business, had a contract with Harare’s City Parking. The contract was aimed at facilitating the installation and running of vehicle parking business in Accra Ghana. Payment was supposed to be in foreign currency.
ZEMQOS was supposed to be paid US$165 000 but Masunda allegedly refused to pay the money after selecting his partner to preside over the arbitration who ruled in his favour.
According to court papers, the very fact that the system was to be installed in a foreign country meant that the project could not be implemented without the approval of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) as the investment was wholly in foreign currency.
“It is this foreign currency which City Parking now refused to pay which caused the applicant to seek a resolution of the dispute. The contract was clear that any dispute would be resolved through arbitration,” said ZEMQOS.
According to court papers, it was only after the award was issued that the ZEMQOS realised the “fraud.”
“There was bias and direct breach of principles of natural justice by every other party involved in the proceedings. The award issued by the arbitrator is against public policy,” reads its affidavit filed through Zvaravashe Masvingise Legal Practitioners
ZEMQOS said Masunda is also a former business partner of the arbitrator cited as P.C. Lloyd in the papers.
The company is also applying for review and setting aside of the arbitral award.
It also prayed that “City Parking be ordered to pay US$15 000 per month from October 2018 to August 2019, the total of which is US$165 000.
“City Parking also ordered to pay default interest at the rate of five percent per annum from October 2018 to August 2019, then the same monthly instalment and interest rates.”
Masunda is also accused of failing to disclose that he was board chairman of Harare Sunshine Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, a company ceased with managing the affairs of City Parking which was a part to the contract.
“City Parking did not disclose to the applicant that it is being run by Harare Sunshine Holdings whose board is chaired by Masunda who apparently went on to choose the arbitrator between the parties to the dispute.
“Instead of disclosing it preferred to have the matter referred to him in direct misrepresentation to the first applicant that this was a neater way of avoiding bias, when in reality it was the means by which it was facilitated,” read ZEMQOS application.
The case is pending.