An angry Gweru businessman on Friday morning caused a stir after he blocked the main entrance to Doves funeral parlor with a kombi vehicle over nonpayment of services amounting to ZW$450 000 resulting in mourners failing to collect bodies of their beloved ones for burial.
Sterkwater Investments Field Manager David Sabola said he was contracted two months ago by Doves Holdings to remove a bus that was trapped in a river in the Tongogara area Shurugwi.
“We spent 4 days trying to retrieve the bus from the river, and we engaged locals to help us doing the job as the road was so damaged by heavy rains. After retrieving the bus from the river, Doves gave us a Certificate of Job completion, and an invoice was issued,” said Sabola.
He alleged that two months after issuing an invoice, Doves is refusing to pay the amount and now suggesting that they can only pay for fuel used by his company truck.
Doves Holdings company secretary Mr. Brian Vito refuted Sabola’s claims saying Sterkwater Investments failed to do what they were engaged to do as the job was later done by another service provider.
“The company was engaged to extricate a bus that had been stuck in the mud and they tried to pull it from the mud but failed to do so. The bus was subsequently pulled out of the mud by another service provider.
“Sterkwater later submitted an invoice for Z$450 000.00. Because the work had not been done to completion and there had been no prior agreement on the charges, we engaged them to try and agree on what should be paid for services actually rendered, which included them being provided with the fuel they used,” said Vito.
However, Sabola said after the removal of the bus from the mud, it had developed some mechanical faults, and couldn’t be driven , as such Doves then hired another recovery vehicle to tow the bus to Gweru for repairs.
“Our job was to remove the bus from the mud where it was stuck not to tow it to Gweru, if I had not completed my job, why did they give me a certificate of completion of work,” he asked.
On the other hand, Doves claims that Sterkwater submitted an invoice for $450 000.00 for work not done to completion and there had been no prior agreement on the charges.
“Doves engaged Sterkwater to try and agree on what should be paid for services actually rendered, which included them being provided with the fuel they used.
“Whilst the negotiations were ongoing, Sabola’s lawyers, Messrs Gundu, Dube & Pamacheche Legal Practitioners sent a letter of demand for the payment, unfortunately, this scuttled the engagement process.
“Furthermore, instead of waiting for their lawyers to deal with the matter in terms of the law, Sterkwater decided to take the law into their own hands by parking their truck in such a way that access to our parlour was inhibited. They only removed the truck when the police intervened,” said Vito.
He said Doves Holding is still willing to further engage with Sterkwater so that the matter can be amicably resolved.
Sabola refuted the claims that he is now taking the law into his own hands. ” After Doves received letters of demand from my lawyers,they approached me for an out of court settlement and even wrote an email through its transport and finance administrator Frank Njini assuring me that payment was being processed by the finance department.
Part of the email reads, “Please be kindly advised that we have submitted your invoice to our Finance department for payment. The proof of payment will be forwarded to you once payment has gone through”