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Harare City Council faces $7m lawsuit

by Staff reporter
03 Sep 2019 at 08:04hrs | Views
HARARE City Council (HCC) faces a potential $7 million defamation lawsuit from Paulos Construction over an audit report which accused the company of fraud.

Paulo Construction has hit back at HCC, saying the allegations contained in their audit report were false and had taken a political twist.

"The MDC council is pushing a political agenda, with false narratives because they do not want companies owned and controlled by people linked to Zanu-PF and now they are engaging in mudslinging tactics," Tempter Tungwarara, a Paulos Construction director, said.

The construction firm acknowledges that it got double payments into its account from HCC, but on noticing the payments, they immediately wrote to council.

In a letter dated December 7, 2017, Tungwarara wrote advising of the over-payment and sought to find common ground with the local authority.

"Following our reconciliation done on December 7, for our year-ending reconciliation, we write to inform you that the payment of invoices of the pilot project that we submitted to your organisation was paid twice, which leads to over-payment. Kindly advise if this payment is for another month of refuse collection, if so, please advise us accordingly before our holiday shutdown (sic)," read the letter received by council's finance department.

Tungwarara said he suspected there was a racket at HCC which wanted to use his company to syphora money from council coffers.

"We actually saved the local authority money by writing that letter and refusing to be part of the theft, but now we are being smeared for being honest. This can't be right and we are going to sue for defamation," he said.

The audit report only had details of how council was fleeced of over $62 000 by Paulos Construction, raising fears that it was a hatchet job.

"How do you explain that the entire report centres on just us. Are we the only company that deals with HCC and are they saying they only lost just $62 000 the entire period?" he said.

Council, in an internal audit report, alleges that in 2017 it lost over $62 000 in fraudulent payments made to Paulos Construction.

Source - newsday

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