2 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Netone Sues RBZ

NetOne Cellular (Pvt) Ltd has taken the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono to the High Court claiming an outstanding US$805 996 mobile phone bill, which the central bank accrued between 2009 and 2011.

Dr Gono was cited as the only defendant but in a representative capacity.

RBZ used NetOne contract lines during the period and did not pay for the service.

According to summons filed at the High Court by the service provider last year, the parties entered into a contract in which NetOne would provide mobile telecommunication services to RBZ. Contract lines were supplied to RBZ at its own instance.

It was part of the agreement that RBZ would pay for services in respect of all the supplied lines upon receipt of invoices.

NetOne claims that RBZ enjoyed the services from January 2009 to September 2011 but did not pay.

Efforts by the network service provider to recover the money failed prompting the company to approach the High Court for relief.

Governor Gono, through his lawyers TH Chitapi and Associates, filed a special plea at the High Court challenging his citation in the matter as the sole defendant.

"The defendant as Governor pleads that the plaintiff's claim is bad in law to the extent that it cites him as such instead of citing the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which is a body corporate with power to sue and to be sued in terms of the RBZ Act," read the plea.

If NetOne insists on citing him as the defendant, Dr Gono denies any relationship, contractual or otherwise, with the plaintiff.

Dr Gono denies knowledge of the alleged services purportedly rendered to him by NetOne.

Even if the lawsuit cited RBZ as the defendant, the lawsuit was not properly before the court.

"The plaintiff has not, prior to instituting legal action, complied with Section 63 of the RBZ Act as read with Section 6 of the State Liabilities Act. The plaintiff has not issued and served the defendant with notice of intention to sue as required by the law," read part of the special plea.

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