The government has inserted new clauses in the US$400 million waste-to-energy Pomona dumpsite contract entered into by Harare City Council (HCC) with a Netherlands-based investor.
Observers say the move is meant to protect the deal pushed through by Local Government minister July Moyo from political scrutiny and possible future revocation.
According to the €304 million (at least US$400 million) deal Harare is set to get to generate up to 22 megawatts of electricity under the deal.
The deal was signed by the HCC represented by acting town clerk Mabhena Moyo and Geogenix BV represented by Miliad Lopa whose address was given as 520 H, 1017 EK, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Geogenox BV’s local representative is businessman Delish Nguwaya who is close to the First Family, particularly President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s twin sons Sean and Collins.
The deal was granted national project status allegedly to shield it from tender process requirements and ensure that it cannot be challenged in the event of a change of political status quo.
The agreement also stated that even if there is to be a change of statute, including on tax, that will not affect the current agreement.
Suspended Harare Mayor, Councillor Jacob Mafume, said there is no way such a deal can be legal. He added:
How do we as a landlord give someone a lease and we pay the rentals? It would be criminal to do so.
This is corruption which has drunk an energy drink or taken Viagra. This deal is not legal, no one can legally execute it .It’s not worth the paper it’s written on. It is just not workable in any way, shape or fashion.
Meanwhile, acting Mayor Stewart Musarurwa Mutizwa said due process was done. He said tenderers who came in first during the days of (former) town clerk Tendai Mahachi had no money and wanted to use a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the HCC to source funds. Mutizwa added:
The second tenderers also could not satisfy us and in came this company. This started in 2018 when they came and met all expectations and financial muscle and the reason why it was elevated to national status by the government is for ease of importing needed material and ease of operations.
He added that the deal will leave the local authority with a state-of-the-art energy plant and integrated waste management structures, a Pomona restaurant and all the infrastructure.