Telone (Private) Limited has dragged Rio Tinto Zimbabwe Limited
to the High Court after the mining company reportedly failed to pay a $144 000 telephone and rent bill.
According to court papers, Rio Tinto applied for telephone services for
its Kadoma Eiffel Flats branch from TelOne.
The application was granted and the parties agreed that the telephone
account 30010241 would be charged on a monthly basis with Rio Tinto also paying for the service on a monthly basis.
But Rio Tinto, which is cited as the defendant is said to have breached the agreement as it failed to pay for the telephone services that were supplied to it.
As a result, TelOne is arguing that Rio Tinto is indebted to it to the
tune of $144 693, 40.
According to court papers, $10 543, 74, which is part of the total amount
being demanded is for rent.
“Despite several demands, the defendant has failed, neglected and or
refused to pay the total amount due. The defendant has no right to refuse
to make payment after it used the plaintiff’s telephone services,” the
court was told.
However, Rio Tinto claimed in its response that TelOne had filed its
application out of the prescribed time and must not be entertained.
“The debt claimed arises from provision of telephone services by plaintiff
to defendant. It is common cause that the debt that accrued thereof, was
to be paid monthly.
It is further common cause that the defendant accrued the debt between
2009 and 2014. Given that the said debt arose in 2009, plaintiff would
have had a claim against defendant from 2009 and prescription would have
begun to run from 2009.
“The plaintiff, however, pleads interruption of prescription on the basis
that, firstly, the defendant made payment between November 2016 and
February 2017, and secondly, prepared a reconciliation of the alleged debt
on the 1st of January 2017,” Rio Tinto argued.
The company further argued that the payment was made long after the
prescription period, as defined in Section 2 of the Prescription Act
“It is further common cause that debts, such as those being claimed by the
plaintiff herein prescribe after a period of three years, in accordance
with the provision of Section 15 (d) of the Act,” the court was told.
The matter is still to be finalised by the High Court.