Chinese firm Anjin loses Chiadzwa court battle

HARARE - Chinese firm Anjin Investments (Private) Limited (Anjin) has lost a Constitutional Court application in which it sought the nullification of a 2016 government directive expelling it from the diamond-rich Chiadzwa fields.

This comes after Anjin filed the application, seeking the directive to be declared void and an order directing the police to cease any actions that have an effect of preventing them from lawfully accessing and conducting its business. This followed the dismissal of their initial application by the High Court.

Anjin approached the court after the company, together with other mining firms, was removed from the Chiadzwa diamond fields on the basis that their special grants had expired. The firms were expelled through a letter dated February 22, 2016 from the then Mines minister Walter Chidakwa.

In the Constitutional Court application, Anjin claimed that its right to fair administrative conduct and due process as guaranteed in Section 68 (1) of the Constitution and right to freedom of association has been violated.

The company further lamented the failure to be afforded a reasonable opportunity to make representations before the grant was declared void.

In the application Anjin was the applicant, while Mines and Mining Development minister, commissioner general of police, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), were cited as respondents.

The respondents, however, challenged the court application on the basis that it was improperly before the court, arguing it appeared to be a response to the judgment by the High Court.

“The proper recourse the applicant should have taken was to appeal the High Court judgment and not to mount a direct application to this court. In the event that the applicant is of the view that the High Court erred in not properly applying the rules of natural justice, the appeal avenue is open to the applicant to pursue. One is puzzled why the applicant has not appealed the decision of the High Court if it feels the court a quo erred or misdirected itself in any way,” the Constitutional Court said.

The court ruled that the issues raised by Anjin are capable of being determined outside the constitutional framework.

“That being this case, this court ought not to assume jurisdiction over the issues. This matter can adequately be determined without raising any constitutional issues. Assuming that the applicant’s allegations are correct, they can be addressed in terms of specialised legislation, the Administrative Act and the common law,” the court said.

The judges also said the matter is not ripe for the Constitutional Court.

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