The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has taken to court a company believed to belong to State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi for failing to settle more than US$64 000 in unpaid electricity bills.
ZETDC, the power distribution arm of ZESA Holdings, has filed summons at the High Court in Bulawayo under case number HC193/17 and HC170/17 seeking an order that forces the company, Vitafoam CA (Private) Limited to settle a debt of US$64 576,90 accrued over an unspecified period.
The power utility, through its lawyers, Dube Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners said despite demand, the firm has neglected, failed or refused to pay the money.
In papers before the court citing Vitafoam as the defendant, ZETDC accuses the foam rubber, bed and mattress manufacturing entity of negatively impairing its service delivery to other customers by refusing to settle the bill.
“The defendant is Vitafoam CA (Pvt) Ltd believed to be a company registered in terms of the laws of this country, which carries out its business at Ashton Road, Donnington in Bulawayo.
“The plaintiff, in the course of its business, supplied electricity that was consumed by the defendant under account number 5009278 at its supply point being Ashton Road, Donnington in Bulawayo. The account was going in arrears in the total sum of US$29 172,67 as of 18 July 2016,” said ZETDC in its first summons.
The electricity supplier’ lawyers said despite acknowledging the debt, the company has failed to settle it.
ZETDC wants Vitafoam to clear the arrears with interest calculated at a rate of five percent per annum and cost of suit at attorney-client scale.
In another summon filed under case number HC170/17 at the High Court, ZETDC says Mohadi’s firm owes it US$35 404,23 being arrears for electricity supplied at Vitafoam’s other branch situated at Number 17 Liverpool Road, Donnington under account number 5009273.
Vitafoam is still to enter an appearance to defend the summons.
Vitafoam, a formerly foreign-owned entity, was put under liquidation in 2006 but resumed operations in 2010 under a new consortium of local businesspeople who included State Security Minister Mohadi. Just like all other companies operating in the country, Vitaform is struggling to meet its obligations.
Workers who spoke to the Financial Gazette on condition of anonymity, said the company was currently facing viability problems and struggling to pay workers’ salaries and utility bills.
“The situation at Vitafoam is not good. Things are terribly bad and we haven’t been paid our salaries in months and some of my colleagues have since left out of frustration and they are yet to receive their money,” said one worker.
In 2015, the company nearly had its property attached after one of its former employees won a case in which he demanded US$37 314 for his unfair dismissal from work.
During its peak, the company used to export its products to neighbouring countries.