Anjin eviction challenge: Court reserves ruling

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The High Court has reserved ruling in the case in which diamond mining firm, Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd, is seeking to set aside a notice for their eviction and shutdown of operations in Chiadzwa.

The company also seeks to prevent the police from disturbing mining operations in Chiadzwa. After hearing arguments from all parties yesterday, Justice David Mangota reserved ruling to a later date, but requested the parties to file heads of argument by end of day tomorrow.

Anjin lawyer Mr Paresh Ranchhod of Hussein and Ranchhod and Company argued that the recently forced shutdown of his client’s diamond mining operations and eviction from the mining site in Chiadzwa was in breach of the Agreement on Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments between Zimbabwe and China.

He argued that Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa and the police did not follow due process in evicting the company from Chiadzwa and that in terms of the agreement signed by the two countries, such conduct was unacceptable.

Arguing for Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, Advocate Sylvester Hashiti argued that his client did not direct or control the police outside the constitutional parameters. He said the constitutional provisions were clear.

“Neither can the police be employed by any private citizen,” argued Adv Hashiti. He cited Section 208 (4) of the Constitution, which says no serving members of the police may be employed or engaged in civilian institutions.

“In terms of the Section 221 subsection 4 (of the Constitution), the Minister of Home Affairs only directs policy and not operational decisions of the police.”

Adv Garikayi Sithole, who appeared for Commissioner-General of Police Dr Augustine Chihuri, argued that his client was bound by the Constitution to protect state interests, investigate and attend to crime scenes.

“As long as people mining in Chiadzwa don’t have licences, the police cannot watch and sit while offences are being committed,” said Adv Sithole.

In its urgent application filed last week, Anjin director Mr Zhang Shibin, said it had invested more than $100 million in the project and it employed thousands of locals. “One of the applicant’s shareholders is a Chinese entity whose rights are protected in terms of the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe on the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments. In terms of the agreements, no expropriation or similar measures against an investor’s rights in Zimbabwe may be taken without following due process and against payment of compensation,” said Mr Shibin.

Anjin contends that the process was illegal in that Government did not allow them to make representations on the issue to the Permanent Secretary (in the Mines and Mining Development Ministry) as per agreement. The company argued that Government’s process was flawed in several respects.

Minister Chidhakwa, he said, could not summarily cancel Anjin’s rights in the special grants without following the due process and affording the company the right to make representations on the alleged defect in title.

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