Zimbabwe: Bitumen Engineering, China International Court Battle Rages

China International Water and Electrical Corporation and Bitumen Engineering (Pvt) Ltd are embroiled in an arbitral award wrangle over an agreement for surfacing of Tugwi-Mukosi road.

China International has approached the High Court seeking to reverse the court's judgment setting aside an arbitral award, which was in its favour.

The two companies entered into an agreement of US$1 205 869, 93 for the surfacing of the Tugwi-Mukosi road on April 28, 2018.

"After expiry of the contract, Bitumen Engineering instituted arbitration proceedings against China International on the grounds that it had breached their agreement and claimed $788 905, 43," read the court papers.

"Bitumen was unsuccessful, and on April 9, 2019, an arbitrator Peter Morris issued an arbitral award in favour of China International awarding it $63, 273, 86 in compensation for additional costs it incurred due to a breach of contract by Bitumen Engineering."

According to the arbitral award, parties were to agree on whether the $63 273, 86 was to be settled in the form of stone or in money.

Bitumen proceeded to file an application for the setting aside of the arbitral award under case number HC 5653/19 which was granted because China International was in default.

Now, China International wants the default judgment entered against them to be set aside.

They want an opportunity to file their notice of opposition in the matter.

"China International was not in wilful default. The resignation of applicant's legal practitioner Mr Muchengeti Chivaura left a gap that led to the misfiling of the application," read the application.

"Upon resignation of the legal practitioner, there was a failure to attend timeously to opposing the application.

"In fact, we only became aware of the existence of the application upon or filing of the application to register the arbitral award.

"Upon filling an application for the registration of the arbitral award on 25th September 25, this when we became aware of the default judgment."

Fungai Lupande

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