By Ebenezzer Sibanda
ZESA subsidiary the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Authority (ZETDC) has been dragged to court by Sligo Farm for arbitrariry cutting off a multi-million dollar farm from the national grid without due process.
ZECTD claimd Sligo Farm has failed to pay its rates and at some point illegally reconnected itself or by-passed systems. But the farms owners argue that ZETDC acted illegally in switching it off without a court order.
ZETDC employee Godfrey Kunonga alleged to have visited the farm in a bid to carry out routine meter reading inspection for the month only to find out the meters had been tempered with to record less electricity than used. A police report was made at the Chinhoyi Magistrate Court.
“Sometime in March, the Respondent’s (ZETDC) employees visited the farm in Chinhoyi in a bid to carry out the routine meter reading inspections as is the norm every month,
“After the visit of the 7th of March, the respondent’s (ZETDC) employee namely, Godfrey Kunonga alleged that there has been a by-pass of electricity at the meter held under Account Number 2205222 (the Hunyani point).
“A police report was made leading to consequent prosecution of the application under CHNP 914/17 at the Chinhoyi Magistrate Court. A copy of the state outline and charge sheet,” reads part of the application.
On 16 November 2017 ZETDC service engineer John Tatenda Chikeya provided evidence against Sligo which however was not good enough and Sligo was released of the farm case.
On 21 August 2017 ZETDC disconnected Sligo farm electricity without a court order claiming it was owed the sum of $69 750.08 backdated to 2016.
Sligo Farm alleges that it will lose a large part of its profit if ZETDC does not reconnect electricity.
“Applicant (Sligo Darm) stands to lose hundred hectares of wheat produce if the court does not intervene now and an estimated gross profit of three million five hundred dollars for this winter season. Such a loss will be on account of the unlawful conduct of the respondent (ZETDC),” the application reads.
Sligo Farm which uses Avalon Farm as its trade farm. The farm is involved in intensive farming in Mashonaland West focused on maize farming which covers 400h, wheat 140h and tobacco 100h per season earning foreign currency between $5-6 million
The farm has been operating since 1982 and is currently employing 200 people.
The case is still pending.