Zim wins diamond case

HARARE - A Belgian court has overturned the seizure and attachment of $45 million worth of diamonds – belonging to various Zimbabwean miners – after Amari Platinum Holdings Limited (Amari) had won a September order against President Robert Mugabe’s government.

This comes as the South African company had taken the cash-strapped administration to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) with a $500 million suit for the unilateral cancellation of its planned mining concession in Mashonaland West in 2010.

Farai Mtamangira, the government’s lawyer, and several other diamond mining companies, have welcomed the Antwerp Court of First Instance ruling for specifically dealing or upholding the ownership issue and argument at play.

“The outcome has the same effect on the (Henricus) Funnekotter application and processes are underway to resolve the attachment (of the parcel of diamonds, and return the consignments here),” he told the Daily News by telephone from Europe on Friday.

While the legal team has always been hopeful about reversing the ex-parte ruling on the basis that the stones have always belonged to the six Chiadzwa gem miners – as opposed to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation – analysts have commended the lawyers’ sterling efforts and December 04 ruling.

And as the Belgian courts had hammered the Harare government with an interim order, it created some criticism and possible hostility for Mines minister Walter Chidakwa over his decision to “transact in hostile jurisdictions”.

Again, the success of the ICA case or awards – which Mtamangira and company have also managed to negotiate downwards to nearly a tenth of the Amari demand – had the potential of opening floodgates against Mugabe’s government, as many global creditors have executable judgments against the beleaguered administration.

And as the Zanu PF turf wars were emerging, parliament even waded into the debate with Masvingo Central legislator Daniel Shumba questioning the wisdom of offshore auctions as opposed to local ones, but a defiant Chidakwa said they were necessary in “allaying fears of underhand dealings”.

In March, Mbada Diamonds chairman Robert Mhlanga had also warned the government against selling its diamonds in Antwerp, saying the “country had the capacity to hold auctions here and there was a multiplicity of benefits” in doing so.

While Amari has been seeking compensation over its cancelled Serui platinum concession, which it says had chewed up nearly $5 million in exploration costs, Funnekotter represented 12 former commercial farmers.

Even, though, the consignment under threat of seizure was worth $45 million, the entire parcel of stones sent up to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre was worth $75 million.

Comments (2)

maybe Mbadadiamonds will now pay its employees the 4 months salary arrears it owes them These have been cruel months for them Pertinent issues like rent, bank loans, medical aid, medical bills, food, clothing and school fees to name a few have been dogging these poor souls yet they r producing diamonds daily

Muchatipa Chete - 12 December 2014

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