Tuesday, 19 July 2022

POMONA CLIMBDOWN : ITS A LIE, SAYS MAFUME

THE opposition CCC-led Harare City Council yesterday made a volte-face on the €304 million Pomona Waste to Energy deal after weeks of politicking trying to reverse an agreement they had earlier sanctioned with the Netherlands-based firm, Geogenix.

The council proposed to fund the Pomona deal, which has national project status, with Devolution Funds.

Harare City Council officials carried out due diligence on the project after being treated to more than 10 days’ stay at a luxurious hotel in the exquisite City of Legnano, Italy, where they travelled to last year.

The councillors had a torrid
time endorsing the deal yesterday as they spent more than three hours in caucus before a special council meeting which was scheduled to start at 11 am but began three hours later.

Chairing the meeting, Mayor Jacob Mafume read a letter from Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo rescinding the city’s resolutions to suspend its contract with Geogenix BV on the Pomona Waste to Energy project.

Ward 43 Councillor Blessing Duma moved a motion that the chamber secretary, town clerk, and Mayor engage Minister Moyo to advise on the city’s financial position.

CCC Clr Duma said in the contract there is a provision that Devolution funds can be channelled to Geogenix for a period of five years since the Government is a guarantor to the deal.


Another CCC Clr Keith Charumbira seconded the motion.

Interestingly, both councillors Duma and Charumbira were part of the CCC-led special committee set up to fleece council funds on the pretext of investigating the Pomona deal which is in the public domain.

Allegations were that each councillor pocketed US$12 000 on the pretext of investigating the deal.

Mayor Mafume also gave an overview of the resolutions passed.

“Clr Duma has pushed a motion to say we are faced with incapacity to pay. If we are to be in a position to pay, then there is a Government guarantee.

“There is a statement which said that people needed to use the devolution funds. We need to go back to Minister and explain the position that we are still unable to pay because of poverty…,” he said.

Part of the letter from Minister Moyo rescinding the council resolutions said in terms of the contract, the passing of a resolution does not in any way expunge the obligations set out in the contract by the operation of law.

“The obligations remain pending unless and until a consensus is reached by the contracting parties. Needless to say, the failure and or neglect to pay the May invoice has serious repercussions, not only with respect to the council’s obligations but also on Government who is the Guarantor of the project.

“failure and or neglect to pay has resulted in accumulation of arrears including interest due to the project,” he said in a statement.

Minister Moyo said in his considered view, the resolutions passed were gratuitous and not in the interests of the residents of Harare and the public at large, a burden which is now cascading to the residents and therefore cannot be allowed.

“In any case, in our reading of your contract with Geogenix B.V, there is no provision for unilateral action by either Party to suspend the same,” he said.

The Pomona dumpsite waste-to-energy project is expected to generate up to 22MW of electricity.

Apart from electricity generation, the project is also projected to create at least 300 jobs, boost economic growth, and reduce the country’s import bill for electricity with the investor already exploring other investment opportunities in the country. HE

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