Chidakwa buckles under pressure

HARARE - Mines minister Walter Chidakwa has buckled under pressure and complied with a High Court order that okayed the return of Mbada Diamonds (Mbada)’s security officers to its Chiadzwa mining site to secure its diamonds and equipment.

This also comes after Chinese diamond mining firm Anjin Investments (Anjin), which was operating in the same area, dragged the government to court seeking to be reinstated.

This comes after High Court judge Joseph Mafusire ruled  last Friday that Chidakwa had wilfully defied his February 29 court order.

“I was advised that there was substantial compliance with my order of February 29, 2016,” Mafusire said yesterday.

The ruling was made after Mbada’s principals Mauritius-registered Grandwell Holdings approached the court seeking to uphold a court order that the diamond firm be reinstated.

After hearing the submissions from all the lawyers, Mafusire reserved ruling in the matter.

In Grandwell’s application, Chidakwa, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Marange Resources (Marange), Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Mbada and police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri were cited as respondents.

Following last Friday’s ruling in which Mafusire found Chidakwa, ZMDC, Marange and ZCDC in default, he said the matter would only resume after the parties had complied with his February 29 order or the matter was to proceed as if in default.

During yesterday’s proceedings, Stanford Moyo and Thabani Mpofu, who appeared on behalf of Grandwell and Mbada respectively, said Grandwell was justified to take a derivative action. A derivative action is a lawsuit brought by a shareholder of a corporation on its behalf to enforce or defend a legal right or claim, which the corporation has failed to do.

Moyo said the government had breached contractual obligations. He said no resolution was passed in terms of the government’s actions.

“A derivative action is allowed at law and a wrong-doer with negative control can invite derivative action,” Moyo said.

He said even if the government’s argument was that Grandwell’s mining rights had expired, it was supposed to first restore possession and talk of rights later.

Mpofu, on the other hand, said that the government had an obligation to ensure that Mbada mines in perpetuity, according to the terms of its operating contract.

“The State has no power to rid itself from its contractual obligations,” Mpofu said, adding that the government cannot benefit from its own wrong.

He said the government had created a technical breach and sought to benefit from it.

Chidakwa’s lawyer Lewis Uriri said Grandwell has to first satisfy the requirements needed before a company pursues a derivative action.

“A derivative action cannot be sustained on the basis of papers in casu,” Uriri said. 

Mafusire noted that despite Mbada and Marange having equal shareholding in the mining concession, Marange was more dominant and had access to State machinery.

“In Marange, you can trace the government’s hand in it,” Mafusire said, further noting that no resolution was passed preceding the government’s action.

But Uriri said Chidakwa had no hand in that, adding the company’s board of directors had an obligation to challenge the decision.

“This was outside the minister’s domain,” he said.

Chihuri, who was represented by Garikai Sithole, argued that he deployed a team of police officers in the area to protect government property, since Mbada’s mining operations ceased by virtue of its licence having expired.

He said for any mining operations to be carried out in the absence of a valid licence would be illegal and criminal.

Comments (4)

US$15billion went down the drain unaccounted for, into the pockets of the ruling elites in Zimbabwe

Mukanya - 10 March 2016

im from marange near chiadzwa our area is not benefiting from diamonds

ngwena - 10 March 2016

The court eared,mbada has no claim we want to take our mining rights as Zimbabweans, they failed to relocate the families in the area so they breached their legal obligation and as a result must go

chitayitayi - 10 March 2016

Mbada disregarded a number of court orders and I wonder why complaining now. They fired workers against court orders, refused to pay terminal benefits due to terminated workers. Mbada's hands are very very veeeeery dirty. I support the minister

Thomas Luciano - 10 March 2016

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