Mwonzora trashes Pomona deal, says MDC-T councillors were duped
MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora has admitted his councillors were duped into a blind rubber-stamping of the contentious US$344 million Pomona waste-to-energy deal by better-schooled executives at Town House.
The deal, which has been dismissed as a brazen piece of fraud by the rival CCC party, ties down the cash-strapped city into a 30-year financial burden to Netherlands based Geogenix BV Netherlands which now enjoys rights to Pomona dump site.
Addressing a news conference in Harare Thursday, Mwonzora called for renegotiation on the deal, which was imposed by government on the Harare City Council with no resistance from MDC-T councillors before the election of CCC councillors via a by-election March this year.
However, following what has been an unequivocally clear rejection of the deal by the generality of Harare residents led by CCC councillors, Mwonzora came Thursday to claim a renegotiation of the deal admitting his councillors were intellectually under-equipped to comprehend the complexities of the deal’s signing.
“The council during due diligence was represented by the acting town clerk who himself is an engineer.
“He came with a report to council and the recommendation was that this deal is worth to be taken and at that point in time the councillors had no cause to disbelieve him.
“Not only that, the councillors were told that the Attorney General, the chief legal advisor of the country, had looked at this deal and said it was okay; so they had no cause to disbelieve it.
“But it did not have all the nitty-gritties that are there, the financial statement, financial model and so on was not out before the councillors.
“At any rate, we would not rely on the councillors’ interpretation on that because they are not technically equipped to do that, the technically equipped people did that and made recommendations,” he said.
Mwonzora said he supported the renegotiation of the deal as opposed to its complete abandonment that would trigger the dreaded US$3,5 million payment by the city in damages.
He said his party supported foreign direct investment and if renegotiated, the Pomona waste-to-energy deal could benefit Zimbabweans.
“We are not calling out this deal to be thrown out all together; we are calling for the renegotiation of this deal so that it makes sense, so that Zimbabwe doesn’t unnecessarily lose.
“Now pending the renegotiation of this deal, there are few things that must be done.
“It is not fair for people to continue to be charged while the deal is being negotiated.
“In fact, to us, it doesn’t make sense that no infrastructure has been made, no investment has come and people are beginning to pay. They are paying for what! That is problematic to us,” said the politician.
According to some of the most dreaded terms of the deal, Harare is obliged to pay Geogenix BV US$40 per tonne of waste delivered at the dump site.
The minimum daily delivery is 550 tonnes, or 200,750 tonnes per year, which equates to US$8.03 million for Geogenix BV in the first year.
Government insists the deal was signed with the best interests of residents and the country at large.