via Chidakwa ‘guilty’ of contempt of court – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 5, 2016
…as Anjin sues government
MINES minister Walter Chidakwa, alongside parastatals operating in Chiadzwa diamond fields, were yesterday held to be in contempt of court by High Court judge Justice Joseph Mafusire, following their non-compliance with a court order issued in favour of Grandwell Holdings last month.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The judge’s ruling comes at a time when President Robert Mugabe, during his birthday interview with the State broadcaster, maintained his hard stance on consolidating all the diamond mining firms in Marange.
Justice Mafusire had on February 29 granted an order sought by the diamond mining firm, which has a huge stake in Mbada Diamonds.
The government was ordered to allow Mbada security personnel back on site to safeguard its property following the decision to withdraw mining licences for all the nine diamond mining firms.
However, when the security officers of the diamond firm approached the mining site as per the court order, they were denied access by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), prompting them to approach the court for recourse.
“It is declared that the order of this court on 29 February has not been complied with. The non-compliance aforesaid was due to the wilful and/or deliberate acts of commission or omission by the first, second, third and fourth respondents (Chidakwa, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Marange Resources, Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) and Mbada Diamonds),” Justice Mafusire said.
“By reason of the foregoing, the first, second, third and fourth respondents forfeit their right of audience with this court in this matter, and the corollary obligation of this court to extend its jurisdiction over their cause is hereby withdrawn until such time that they have purged their default.”
Justice Mafusire postponed the hearing of the matter to Tuesday next week.
Justice Mafusire warned: “At the resumption of the matter as aforesaid, unless there is evidence of compliance with the order in question, all documents filed by the first, second, third and fourth respondents in opposition to the applicant’s case shall be struck off and the matter shall proceed as if in default.”
Meanwhile, another diamond mining company, Anjin Investments, has also approached the High Court seeking to have Chidakwa’s directive declared null and void.
In his founding affidavit, the Chinese company’s director Zhang Shibin said he was seeking the intervention of the court to set aside Chidakwa’s directive on the basis that his firm had not violated any terms of the mining agreement in Chiadzwa.
Shibin said Chidakwa’s averments that the mining firm’s licence had expired were not correct since all the mining firms in Chiadzwa had signed agreements that simply allowed them to operate in the area without a specific period being stated.
“The first respondent’s (Chidakwa) attempt to use the apparent omission of the period as the basis of cancellation of the Special Grants is, therefore, not valid, legitimate or reasonable,” he said. “In any event, if the period of the Grants was omitted when issued by the Secretary of Mines, such omission was made in the office of the first respondent.”
Shibin further said he wanted his firm to be allowed back on site as he feared for the safety of his gems since the take-over of security on the site by heavily-armed police officers who apparently directed his employees to open the strongrooms where diamond stocks are stored.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.