HIGH COURT OF ZIMBABWE
HARARE, 16 January and 19 April 2018
S Evans, for the plaintiff
P Musekiwa, for the defendant
CHATUKUTA J: The plaintiff and defendant are both companies which are duly registered in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe. The plaintiff has been in the business of fuel retailing, servicing, repairing and maintaining vehicles. The defendant is an oil company retailing fuel. The parties entered into a joint venture sometime towards the end of 2007 with the objective to procure fuel and retail it at service stations. The agreement was reduced into writing. The plaintiff had a fuel outlet and a large customer base having been in operation for 35 years. The defendant had been granted a fuel importing license. The parties agreed that each party would inject equal capital into the joint venture for the initial purchases of fuel. The plaintiff, however, contributed about US$14 400 while the defendant brought forth about US$13 000. The parties agreed that they would share profit and loss in equal shares. Ian Harris, the managing director of the plaintiff, and David Chiweza, the managing director of the defendant, were co-directors of the joint venture. The business did not succeed as envisaged by the parties and the joint venture was terminated sometime in 2008. The joint venture financial statements were prepared in April 2009 and the parties failed to agree on the statement.
In September 2009, the plaintiff, without consulting the defendant, instructed BDO Tax & Advisory Services P/L (hereinafter referred to as BDO) to prepare accounts for the joint venture. The defendant agreed to supply BDO with all the relevant information to prepare the accounts, after the appointment was brought to its attention. BDO prepared its first report in January 2010 in terms of which it concluded that the defendant owed the plaintiff. The defendant commented on the report on 20 May 2010. The second report was produced on 26 May 2010. The report was again disputed when the parties met in September 2010. A third report was produced in March 2011. There was no communication between the parties regarding the third report. BDO produced a final report on 12 October 2012 without any further