Home » Judicial » Parks Slapped With U.S $780k Lawsuit

Makuti Game and Safari Lodges has slapped the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority with a US$787 000 lawsuit emanating from unpaid compensation for developments carried out by the company at Charara Safari Area in Victoria Falls. In May 2009 Makuti Game and Safari Lodges, represented by businessman Mr Emmanuel Fundira, signed an agreement with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority for the occupation of Parks’ Charara Safari Area.

As part of the agreement, Parks would compensate Makuti for developments made on the area with the approval of the authority. For every approved development, Parks was obliged to compensate Makuti.

During the two-year period in which Makuti operated from Charara, several developments worth US$787 000 were made with the approval of Parks but no compensation was paid since the expiry of the agreement in 2011.

That prompted Makuti’s lawyer Mr Aent Tavenhave of Tavenhave and Machingauta to file summons claiming compensation.

The parties have since appeared before a magistrate for a pre-trial conference and the matter was referred for trial.

The trial court is expected to establish whether or not the improvements in issue were done in compliance with the agreement between the parties.

It will also be established whether Parks owes Makuti and if it is true, then the court is also expected to determine the actual debt.

According to the summons, Makuti effected the following improvements at Chemakunguwo Camp located within the Charara concession:

16km of electronic grid at a cost of US$480 000

20KVA Electricity Transformer at a cost of US$25 000.

Piping and tubing and electrical distribution into camp buildings at a cost of US$15 000.

Drilling a cased 90m borehole with a two horsepower Franklin Pump and motor along with the piping and installation at a cost of US$12 500.

The construction of seven camp buildings with ablution facilities at a cost of US$40 000.

According to the plaintiff’s particulars of claim, all the above-stated improvements were approved by Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and a letter by the late Director-General Morris Zororai Mtsambiwa was attached as proof of approval.

However, Parks, through its lawyers Chinogwenya and Zhangazha law firm, filed opposing papers dismissing the claim.

“It is denied that the improvements done by plaintiff were in terms of the agreement between the parties.

“At the time of making improvements, the plaintiff did not have the Director-General’s approval as required by the agreement.

“These improvements were not approved and the cost claimed is put in issue for plaintiff to strictly prove,” read the particulars of claim.

Instead, Parks argued that the improvements should be removed except for a kitchenstoreroom, three chalets and a dining shed in Chemakunguwo Camp.

The parties now await trial.

Source : The Herald