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Netone in legal wrangle over US$400k debt

Largest mobile network service provider, Netone Cellular, is at loggerheads with local firm, Malbeck (Pvt) Ltd, over an outstanding payment of US$400 000 owed to the complainant in respect of goods supplied to the telecoms giant in December 2018.

According to papers seen by this publication, Malbeck won a contract in December 2018 and the order worth was US$797 000 for the supply of regulators that the company had to import from China for Netone.

Circumstances are that Malbeck did justice to the deal and supplied the gadgets but Netone insisted on paying the company their arrears in local currency which was a complete negation of the initial agreement.

The matter then went to arbitration and Netone was given an arbitrary award in February this year, compelling Malbeck to approach the High Court to have the award set aside after citing several irregularities and blunders at law as stated in their founding affidavit.

The company is represented by its director Taurai Janhi and hearing was sat down for Friday under Case Number 2021/21 and is to be heard by Justice Chitapi.

“I am convinced the determination was in contrast with public policy of the land

“The sole claim was to have our payment in USD as the nature of our agreement preceded SI 33 and I had borrowed money from offshore lines of credit to complement part of the payment I had been advanced.

“This was a foreign obligation our contract with Netone indicated that we import the goods from China.

“There was a misinterpretation of the law,” read part of the affidavit.

The company’s prayer is to have the arbitration award granted by Honourable David Whatman in February 2021 be set aside.

“We pray that the matter be remitted for arbitration de novo under a different arbitrator chosen by both parties as per agreement,” read part of the draft order presented to the High Court.

Malbeck is represented by Tichaona Nyahumwe of Golden Stairs Law Chambers.

The matter follows precedence set in a case between one Valentine Mushayakarara and Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco this month.

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