Councillor sued over contract

2009-06-17 00:00

A LOCAL upholsterer has issued summons in the high court in Pietermaritzburg against a company, allegedly owned by a local councillor and his son, which was recently awarded a lucrative contract for the refurbishment of 500 city hall chairs.

Unas Mohammed Abdul of Raven Upholsterers is suing Décor and Design Studio, allegedly owned by Msunduzi councillor Patrick Moon and his son, Delroy, for payment of R207 743 for alleged breach of contract.

Abdul claims he was sub-contracted to carry out the upholstery, but that after he bought all the materials needed to upholster 500 chairs and completed work on an initial 44 chairs, Décor and Design reneged on their agreement, refused to deliver any more chairs and did not pay for the 44 chairs.

Attorney Siva Chetty, who represents Abdul, confirmed that summons has been issued, but no date is set for trial.

It is alleged in court papers that Delroy Moon negotiated an initial agreement with Abdul in July last year in terms of which he forwarded a two-seater chair from the Msunduzi Municipality for upholstering to obtain a sample of Raven’s workmanship.

It is alleged that the municipality accepted the quality and standard of the work on the sample chair and awarded the tender for the upholstery to Décor and Design Studio, which in turn arranged to deliver 500 chairs to Raven for upholstering at a cost of R350 per chair. Abdul agreed to buy all the material needed for the job.

According to the court papers, Patrick Moon was involved in negotiating the second phase of the agreement.

Abdul alleges that the failure of Déco­r and Design Studio to carry out its obligations in terms of its agreement has caused him to suffer damages for which it is liable.

In a letter to the mayor in March to complain about the conduct of Patrick Moon, Abdul states that after he completed the first 44 chairs, Patrick Moon advised him that he is “looking at sub-contracting with another company as they had quoted him less to do the job”.

“I further wish to state that we had actually decreased our price from R460 to R350 per chair because the councillor insisted that there was lots of repair work needed on the chair and he needed to benefit substantially.

“However, he insisted that he would have to contract with someone else as he had to make a huge profit from this contract. I was astounded at the attitude of this councillor and I demanded that I communicate with his son.

“Councillor Moon informed me that his son is not involved in the operations of the business as he, being a councillor, and in charge of the upholstery section in the municipality, has full authority to elect whoever he wishes to attend to the upholstery.”

Abdul also points out that he refused to take on other work as a result of having been told that the upholstery of the “town hall chairs” was urgent.

“I firmly believe that the conduct of Councillor Moon is unjust and not in keeping with that of a councillor,” he added.

The Witness has learned that the tender was awarded for the refurbishment of the city hall chairs, and according to an informed source Patrick Moon recused himself from the tender decision-making process after declaring a personal interest. However, the source was unaware that Décor and Design Studio had allegedly decided to sub-contract the work to someone else. The source confirmed that the tender was awarded to Décor and Design Studio based on the quality of the sample that was shown to the committee.

Moon could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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