Friday, June 21, 2024

Mozambique High Commission slapped with P1 million writ of execution over Samora Machel Museum

Disagreements over the construction of the Samora Machel Museum in Lobatse have resulted in a writ of execution order in favour of a local company against the High Commission of Mozambique.

The writ of execution follows a protracted legal battle involving the High Commission and EG Solar Botswana (Pty) Ltd, a local contractor, over the construction project. The matter culminated in the Court of Appeal affirming the High Court’s decision to rule in favor of the company.

The Registrar of the High Court has now ordered that property belonging to the Mozambique High Commission be auctioned to recover the P948, 663.87 owed to EG Solar.

“You are hereby directed to attach and take into execution the movable goods of the High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique …and of the same to cause to be realized by public auction the sum of P948, 663.87; interest at 10% per month from April 2018 till the final payment costs of the suit..,” reads the order, addressed to the deputy sheriff.

The origins of the dispute trace back to June 2017, when the High Commission entered into a contract with EG Solar Botswana for the construction of the museum in Lobatse. The project faced numerous challenges, and in April 2018, the High Commission terminated the contract, citing the contractor’s failure to meet the agreed terms. However, EG Solar contested the termination, arguing it was unlawful and seeking various compensatory payments.

In August 2018, EG Solar Botswana initiated legal proceedings against the High Commission, resulting in a series of legal maneuvers that included the involvement of Sunshine Insurance Company of Botswana (Pty) Ltd, which had provided a performance bond for the project. The contractor’s claims included demands for unpaid work, damages for breach of contract, and prevention of the performance bond’s release.

The legal proceedings saw a series of delays and procedural disputes, particularly surrounding the filing of pleas and adherence to court orders. Despite multiple opportunities to comply with the court’s timelines, the Mozambique High Commission failed to meet the deadlines, prompting EG Solar to seek a summary judgment.

In December 2020, the High Court granted EG Solar’s request, striking out the High Commission’s plea and issuing a judgment in favor of the contractor. The High Commission appealed the decision, arguing procedural errors and the necessity of hearing evidence on unliquidated damages claims.

The Court of Appeal, in a judgment delivered by Justice Isaac Lesetedi, upheld parts of the High Court’s decision while acknowledging the need for proper assessment of certain damages. The appellate court ruled that the High Court correctly applied Order 42(12), but required the Registrar to assess the quantum of damages related to specific claims.

The governments of Botswana and Mozambique commissioned the museum of the late revolutionary leader of the Mozambican liberation movement and Mozambique’s first president Samora Moises Machel in Lobatse.

“The museum bears testimony to the two countries long-standing historical ties, premised on our struggles against political and cultural bondage and the upholding of shared values and principles of democracy, as well as familial connections,” President Mokgweetsi Masisi said at the commissioning of the Museum in Lobatse.

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