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A LEADING beverage manufacture Schweppes Zimbabwe has lost a R247 million lawsuit to a South African-based supplier, Blakey Investments Private limited.

In a High Court judgment delivered yesterday, Justice Tawanda Chitapi blasted the company for seeking a declaratur against Blakey based on assumptions.

He slapped the beverage maker with costs.

Schweppes had issued summons against Blakey seeking cancellation of a supply agreement entered into between the parties in May 2018.

According to court papers, the parties signed a purchase and supply agreement on May 8, 2018, where Schweppes would purchase packaging material at an agreed price.

The parties changed the expiry date of the contract from December 3, 2019, to June 30, 2023, and increased the volumes and prices, and added a new product.

The contract had also been changed between June 26, 2018 and March 19, 2019, but later, Schweppes claimed that some key terms of the initial agreement had not been altered.

The company said being resident in Zimbabwe, it was bound by Statutory Instrument 109/1996 on exchange control regulations.

Schweppes claimed both parties violated exchange control regulations because they entered into the supply chain agreement before they both obtained approval.

It said this resulted in the company incurring financial obligations outside Zimbabwe without exchange control authority.

This, according to Schweppes, rendered the agreement of no force or effect.

Blakey disputed the assertions. It said Schweppes had failed to state its place of residence and that local laws did not render an agreement concluded without exchange control approval invalid or illegal. Chitapi upheld Blakey’s  arguments.

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