By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent
THE ministry of local government has written to the Harare city council ordering the local authority to pay up the ballooning Pomona dumpsite bill, which is now close to a million United States dollars
Government reportedly forced the costly waste-to-energy-deal on the local authority and it has since emerged that council is supposed to pay US$22,000 per day to the contracted company for the next 30 years.
The deal was awarded to Geogenix BV, a foreign company whose local representative is Delish Nguwaya, a business associate of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family.
The opposition-controlled city council has since declared that it would not honour the contract despite local government minister July Moyo insisting that the deal was irreversible.
Now the local government Ministry has written to council demanding payment of the bill which has now reached US$780,000.
“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 US$780 890 for the month of May,” said local government permanent secretary Zvinechimwe Churu in the letter which was addressed to Harare’s town clerk.
“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 local government permanent secretary added; “The amount will become unsustainable should the stance be sustained beyond the May payment.
“We request a response from you 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 shall abide by the contractual terms provided for in the existing contract.”
The deal has since been widely condemned by the opposition and civil society organisations.
In a recent press statement, Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum, Transparency International Zimbabwe, Zimcodd and other civic organisations condemned the deal as scandalous.
“We would like to make it very clear that this scandal is a direct attack on the devolution of power provided for in Chapter 14 of the Constitution since the project was imposed by the central government on the City of Harare,” the groups said.
“This scandal is evident when the City of Harare is bound by the agreement to handover Pomona dumpsite to Georgenix for free for the period of 30 years and then is bound to pay US$22 000 per day to dump waste it has collected at its own cost for the next 30 years at the same dumpsite.”