Architect Revives A 7-year-old US$30 Million Lawsuit Against Tourism Ministry
An architect company has revived a seven-year-old lawsuit against the Ministry of Tourism which failed or neglected to pay US$30 million for architectural services rendered in 2013.
House of Vengesayi (Pvt) Ltd (Vengesayi) filed the court application in 2016, but the suit dragged on until this year.
High Court judge Justice Rodgers Manyangadze this week directed the firm to provide evidence to prove that it was owed money by the ministry.
The ministry had earlier argued that there was no application before the court dealing with the matter.
Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, who represented the firm, argued that the ministry’s plea should be dismissed as it was merely a denial.
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Justice Manyangadze then ruled that the case should be heard since the ministry was not in dispute that services were rendered and nothing was paid. Ruled the judge:
The plaintiff’s submissions are in sync with the applicable law. The defendant has not made submissions to the contrary. In light of this, the plaintiff’s prayer that the defendant’s defective plea be struck out must be granted.
The cost runs into millions of United States dollars. There is certainly need for evidence to substantiate the claims.
According to court documents, the ministry hired the company in 2011 to provide architectural plans for multifunctional tourism facilities for the United Nations World Tourism Organization conference at Victoria Falls.
House of Vengesayi (Pvt) Ltd (Vengesayi) said it designed and did working drawings and charged US$30 286 747.86.
The ministry, however, broke the agreement by refusing to pay the money, which prompted the company to seek redress in court.