Uproar as military grabs RioZim mine

HARARE - Listed mining company RioZim Limited (RioZim) has dragged Defence and War Veterans minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri to the High Court after one of its mines was apparently grabbed and handed over to two military-linked companies.

This comes after Muchinguri-Kashiri is said to have unilaterally declared a portion of the company’s mining concessions in the Darwendale area a military zone.

RioZim is an integrated mining company with diverse operations in gold, base metals, diamonds, coal and chrome around the country.

The company says the military is using two entities in this asset grab, including a company called Rusununguko Nkululeko — which allegedly involves indisposed Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo.

But RioZim chief geologist Patrick Takaedza said in the company’s High Court application that the move by the government to grab the mine was both unlawful and “irrational”.

The court application cites Muchinguri-Kashiri and Mines minister Winston Chitando as first and second respondents respectively.

The company said it was the holder of 260 mining claims in the Darwendale area, in Mashonaland West Province — where it operated Cam & Motor Gold Mine and Empress Nickel Refinery. The Cam & Motor mine covers an area totalling about 1 150 hectares.

“This is an application for the review of the first respondent’s decision in declaring the area described in the schedule to Statutory Instrument 145/201 as a cantonment area acting in terms of Section 89 of the Defence Act (Chapter 11.02).

“On 3rd of August 2018, the first respondent (Muchinguri-Kashiri), acting in terms of Section 89 of the Defence Act (Chapter11:02), published a notice, which notice was to be cited as the Defence (cantonments) Notice 2018 (No. 51).

“The notice stipulated that the area described in the schedule shall be a cantonment for the purposes of Part IX of the Act,” Takaedza said.

He said further that the Defence minister’s decision was not carried out “lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner”.

“The deficiencies in the decision are understood better after appreciating the background relationship between the applicant and the first respondent’s proxies.

“On the 19th of February 2018, a company called Falcon Resources wrote a letter to the applicant in which it requested that the applicant grant it a tribute in respect of the applicant’s chrome ore claims in Darwendale, curiously indicating that these claims must be 10 kilometres away from an area which they described as Darwendale Military Zone.

“The applicant did not respond to this letter as it did not and does not intend to tribute any of its chrome ore claims to the said Falcon Resources or any other entity,” Takaedza said.

RioZim had later heard on May 30, 2018 that there were alleged mining activities at its claims in Darwendale.

“The applicant carried out investigations at the site and discovered that there was indeed mining activity taking place on its claims and the said activities were being carried on by Falcon Resources in conjunction with Rusununguko Nkululeko.

“These two companies were carrying out the activities with the blessing of Muchinguri-Kashiri.

“It was further discovered that Falcon Resources has two directors, who are also the only shareholders — Mohammed Tariq Aziz (a Pakistani national) and Aneeqa Zubair (a Dutch national) — both resident at number 8 Boeing Road Ridgeview in Harare.

“The two are believed to be former Pakistani army officers who were attachees or on secondment to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces between 1980 and 2000,” the court papers disclose further.

“Rusununguko Nkululeko also has two directors who are also the only shareholders — Sibusiso Moyo ... and Jacob Malate of number 5, D30 houses, Manyame Airforce Base in Harare.

“The applicant understands that the two shareholders are however, nominees of the recently formed Defence Economic Development Directorate, an arm through which the first respondent effectively controls Rusununguko Nkululeko’s operations and carries out business activities.”

RioZim also told the court that several meetings had been held with the two companies, where Rusununguko Nkululeko was represented by Lieutenant-Colonel Tafirei Masuma — who was described as the company’s mining manager.

According to the court papers, RioZim later requested that the two companies stop their mining activities on their claims.

“Falcon Resources and Rusununguko Nkululeko, however, rejected the applicant’s request and indicated that the mining activity was taking place in a military cantonment area and that they would continue with the mining activity.

“At this particular time, the representation that the area was a military cantonment was false as the area had not yet been so declared.

“Further, the mere declaration of the area to be a military cantonment did not automatically give mining rights to Falcon Resources and Rusununguko Nkululeko, nor did it give the first respondent the authority to grant mining rights on the area so declared,” Takaedza said.

He finally asked the court to review the decision that was made by Muchinguri-Kashiri.

“The decision to declare the area covering the applicant’s mining claims a cantonment area, without due process and in light of clear bias towards Rusununguko Nkululeko and Falcon Resources gives rise to a serious miscarriage of justice which can only be redressed by means of an application for review.

“The relief that the applicant seeks is an order setting aside the declaration of the cantonment area that has directly benefitted Falcon Resources and Rusununguko Nkululeko,” Takaedza said.

He also alleged abuse of power by Muchinguri-Kashiri in favour of the two military companies, adding that the declaration of the mining field as a cantonment area was only made “to legalise unlawful activities by the two entities”.

Muchinguri-Kashiri and Chitando have not yet responded to the application.

Comments (2)

Zvekuba hazvigutise sure!!! Muchinguri haunyari here?

ralph - 4 October 2018

Muchinguri first declared the area a cantonment to scare away RioZim then Chitando gives mining claims to companies one of which SB Moyo is a director/shareholder...mafia style operation....that corruption will end under zanupf rule is a fallacy.

Sinyo - 5 October 2018

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