Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and former Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi have been dragged to court over failure to release 2,136 kg of gold nuggets confiscated by the police from a mining concern in Kwekwe four years ago.
EA Fundira Trust, founded by businessman Mr Emmanuel Fundira, claims Police Border Control and Minerals Unit confiscated its gold nuggets in 2012 for safe keeping at the height of a dispute over ownership of a piece of land where the minerals were extracted.
However, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, on January 15 last year, concluded its investigations and found that EA Fundira Trust was the legitimate owner of the piece of land in question and that the gold rightfully belonged to the trust.
The Mines ministry wrote a letter to the Officer-in-Charge Border Control and Minerals Unit in Kwekwe advising the police that the trust was the rightful owner of the confiscated gold samples and requested that they should release the minerals to the trust.
Part of the letter reads: “This office notes that EA Fundira’s samples were taken from him for safekeeping by your good office on January 20 2012 indicating that these had been accumulated before the reservation was in place.
“We, therefore, request your good offices and Fidelity Printers to facilitate the processing of the samples in the presence of all parties.”
The police did not release the gold samples and in April last year EA Fundira Trust engaged the services of its lawyer Mr Advent Tavenhave of Tavenhave and Machingauta Legal Practitioners.
A court application for an order directing the release of the gold sample nuggets was filed at the High Court.
In the court application, Commissioner-General Chihuri, Minister Mohadi and the Officer-in-charge Border Control and Minerals Unit in Kwekwe were listed as respondents in their official capacities.
Mr Fundira deposed a founding affidavit in his capacity as founder of EA Fundira Trust.
According to the affidavit, Mr Fundira indicated that he was a registered holder of a special grant held under number 5751 and prospecting license.
Sometime in January 2012, Mr Fundira said police confiscated the trust’s 2 136,47g of samples of gold nuggets for safekeeping since there was a dispute as to the rightful owners of the land where the gold had been extracted.
Mr Fundira said several follow ups were made in a bid to recover the confiscated gold nuggets without success.
The trust later approached the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for assistance but still the police did not release the gold.
In his opposing affidavit filed at the High Court, Comm-Gen Chihuri said: “I have read and understood the applicant’s founding affidavit. I have also read the 3rd respondent’s (officer-in-charge) and I abide by it.
“Wherefore, I pray that the order be dismissed,” he said.
The officer-in-charge argued that the gold was never recovered from EA Fundira Trust.
The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court.