Pomona waste to energy deal above board: Govt
Harare (New Ziana) – The Pomona waste to energy project can only be stopped by the courts, as such the purported suspension of the deal by Harare councillors is of no effect, a Cabinet Minister said on Friday.
Harare councillors, led by Mayor Jacob Mafume of the Citizens Coalition for Change, on Thursday voted to “suspend” the Pomona waste-to-energy contract awarded to Netherlands-registered Geogenic BV, while setting up a committee to review the project.
Under the project, which received Cabinet approval, Geogenix BV is investing €303,9 million to set up a 22 MW waste-to-energy plant at the Pomona dump site.
As part of its investment into the deal, the Harare City Council will pay a prescribed fee for garbage deliveries to Pomona.
But, largely due to misinformation around the deal, it has been criticised mainly by opposition parties and like-minded activists leading to its purported suspension.
The deal is also currently subject to litigation after Harare North legislator Allan Markham approached the High Court seeking its review.
But, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said the project could only be stopped by a court decision.
“We condemn this conduct which amounts to cheap political grandstanding at the expense of the country and it is therefore necessary to state that the project will not be stopped unless done so by judicial action. Again, we state that the matter is subjudice and that some members were mentioned in the legal papers,” he said in a statement.
Moyo said consummation of the deal was above board, and said political grandstanding was getting in the way of the deal which is of national interest.
“With respect to the project, we wish to advise that all procedures were followed. The City and the investor agreed on terms as to how to execute the joint venture while the investment appraisal was done by the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency and also recommended by the Joint Venture Committee.
“All the recommendations from this process went to Cabinet, which is the highest executive authority, for approval and a lower organ cannot violate the principle of subsidiarity. Following Cabinet’s approval, the joint venture agreement was closely analysed by Government lawyers, including the Attorney General’s office before it was signed.”
“Government wishes to advise that, in consummating this transaction, rigorous processes to ensure that Council and the country at large derive maximum benefits were undertaken. It is confounding that a group of councillors have decided to, once again, appraise this project and in the process causing needless delays and, with it, the risk of jeopardising investor appetite,” he said.
Moyo said the waste management project, among other benefits, will create employment, generate power and assist in refuse management.
The project, to be operated by the investor for 30 years, has been touted as the panacea to the city’s waste management problems.
Early this week, a government delegation led by Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa toured the project site where the contractor has already started work.
“The turning of the dumpsite dirt into recreational and biogas energy is welcome and those who are against such a world-class project are detractors of the state,” Mutsvangwa said then.