Steward Bank, the subsidiary company of Econet Wireless, just became the first financial institution to be sued over plastic money. A Bulawayo grocery company, Fortwell Wholesale Ltd has taken the Econet Bank for allegedly breaching a verbal contract with the wholesaler resulting in the “losing” $74 193,12.
According to court papers filed at Bulawayo High Court under Case No H. C 2471/17, Fortwell Wholesale through its lawyers Titan Law, said “Sometime in June 2016, the defendant engaged Plaintiff to use their Point Of Sale units (POS) on an arrangement that Plaintiff will not be charged for the use of the machines or for any transaction done on the Defendants POS units. All charges were to be borne by the customer purchasing goods using the Defendants POS units,”
“The arrangement was never reduced to writing even after a total of nine POS units were delivered to the plaintiff,” Fortwell added.
Things took a twist in February this year, eight months into the contract, Fortwell Wholesale noticed that $74 193,12 had been deducted from its account and insist that Steward Bank despite efforts of engagement, has refused to compensate the money.
“Defendant has failed, neglected or refused to reimburse the $74 193,12,” said Fortwell.
The company argued that the amount represented one percent of every transaction that was done through the machines. Now the wholesale wants the money reimbursed but the bank won’t budge. Through its lawyers, Calderwood, Bryce Henderie and Partners Steward Bank have indicated “an appearance to defend”.
The lawsuit come at a time when the RBZ has embarked on a program to promote the use of credit and bank debit cards in the country to ease the country’s cash shortages that have rocked the nation for more than a year.
The country has been facing an acute shortage of cash, forcing some people to sleep in bank lines hoping for better fortunes the following day. The introduction of “bond notes,” which traded at par with the U.S. dollar in November last year, has not helped the situation.