Zimsec up in arms with architects over US$170 k debt 

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

THE Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) is up in arms with a local company, AR Mandizvidza Architect, trading as Amandiz Architect, over a 2007 US$170 777 debt, and the matter is now before the High Court.

Court papers show that the two parties entered into an agreement to carry out architectural designs at Zimsec’s two properties in Norton.

The other one was to be a printing press and the other  a sorting house.

The court heard work  commenced in 2009, but an accounting dispute arose between the two parties.

The engineers claimed Zimsec had an outstanding payment for works done on the two projects.

Investigations were carried out and a report claimed that Zimsec owed them  US$170 777.96 post the commencement of the multicurrency economy in 2009.

Zimsec wants the matter treated as stale debt and prescribed on the grounds that the issue was initially raised on August 24, 2007.

The examination council argued the architects also had an opportunity to initiate a court case but waited for years until 2020.

Zimsec sought authority to be granted leave to put its house in order and complete their applications in a matter they seek to shrug off payment.

“As far as Zimsec was concerned, it had settled in full all payments that were due to the respondent, and was no longer liable for any further payments arising from work that had already been done under the agreement.

“To Zimsec’s surprise, it then received another letter from the respondent dated June 14, 2016, barely a week after it had made the payment referred to above, to which was attached a new invoice. Effectively, the respondent was now making a fresh claim against Zimsec for payment in the sum of US$285 447.49, which the respondent claimed to be the amount outstanding for the works done in respect of the printing press and the sorting warehouse, during the Zimbabwe dollar era prior to 2009,” complained the council.

This has been allowed by the High Court.

Zimsec alleges that Amandiz lawyers wrote letters of demand claiming varying amounts- US$1 307 972.46 as underpayments which then miraculously deflated to US$621 957.82 on April 30 last year.

However, Amandiz said payment requests are for work done after the Zimbabwe Dollar era.

“As a starting point, the applicant is basing its claim and arguments for prescription on the wrong invoice. The invoice given to the applicant by the respondent is the one dated September 14, 2020. This is the invoice which was and remains a bone of contention between the parties for some time now. This is the invoice given after the applicant terminated the contract between the parties, citing that the scope of the sorting warehouse has changed.”

High Court judge, Justice Webster Chinamora, granted the order in favour of Zimsec, allowing it to pursue its case against the architects at the High court.