Trinity Engineering chairman and founder Senator Aguy Georgias is set to appeal against the European Union General Court’s verdict rejecting his claim for damages from the EU Council and Commission arising from sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the EU. Georgias’ case was heard by the General Court sitting in Luxembourg earlier this year after he filed a claim for damages suffered as a result of his listing on the EU travel ban list.
The court ruled in September that the EU council did “not act unlawfully in imposing restrictive measures” against Sen Georgias, a former senator and deputy minister in the Government of Zimbabwe.
In 2002, the EU imposed restrictive measures on Zimbabwe providing for the freezing of funds and prohibition of entry into or transit through the territory of the European Union against members of the Zimbabwean government.
Sen Georgias was included on the travel ban list in 2007 following his appointment as Deputy Minister for Economic Development by President Mugabe.
A month after his appointment, Sen Georgias was denied leave to enter the UK in transit to New York and detained overnight at Heathrow Airport before being flown back to Zimbabwe.
He immediately challenged that in the British High Court which ruled against him twice, at the initial hearing and on appeal.
The British High Court upheld that the action by British immigration officials was in conformity with the EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
It is then that Georgias took his case to the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Following a protracted delay, the matter was only heard in April with the EU General Court’s verdict announced on September 18 dismissing Georgias’ claim for damages.
The Trinity Engineering boss, in his first public comment after the crushing ruling, has in his typical never-say-die attitude, come out in fierce condemnation of both the British and European Justice system.
“I have for along time held the British justice system in high esteem, but I regret that this confidence in their objectivity, fairness and impartiality was thoroughly misplaced,” he said.
“Perhaps it would have been the best had corruption not collapsed the Privy Council. Now it is just as unfair and biased, and open to political manipulation and abuse.”
Sen Georgias laments the fact that he did not, however, receive the support of all in Government, except for President Mugabe, in his legal contest with the British and EU even as this was at great cost to him personally and to his two companies, Trinity Engineering Pvt Ltd and Georgias Trucking that he painstakingly built over 35 years.
“Some senior Government officials even called me delusional for pursuing the court action, as if I was fighting an individual battle.
“But this is not the first time I have fought court battles in matters that are of the general public good and benefit.
“Imagine that my company has suffered serious financial loss, in business and with litigation costs,” says Georgias, who remains adamant to pursue justice.
Adds the Willowvale industrialist, “I have litigated five different cases outside the country, three cases in the British High Court, one at the EU and one in Zambia, but save for Zambia, I have no kind words for the contempt I see in some nations for international law.
“The EU General Court as the British High Court, made no consideration whatsoever to the points of law raised by my solicitors, whose opinion is also that the court’s judgement was flawed in many aspects.
“In short, it was a political judgement couched in wrongful if not outright deceptive academic interpretation of case law not in any way applicable to my case.”
Sen Georgias’ London solicitors led by Hugh Mercer QC argued the merits of their case on grounds that the EU could not provide any evidence whatsoever linking Georgias to any actions “that undermine democracy, the rule of law and gross violation of human rights as a mere member of the Zimbabwe Government.”
According to the General Court, the EU Council and Commission lawyers did not in their defence, adduce any evidence to refute his claim of “manifest-error of judgment”.
The EU, he says and as his lawyers argued, had denied the former senator of his right of defence under law, a standard held sacrosanct in EU law.
The EU had painted Zimbabwe Government leaders with the same brush and judged Sen Georgias guilty by merely being a member of that government, a principle “my solicitors argued was not acceptable at law.
“As such we are appealing against the judgment”.
Sen Georgias is not detracted in his quest for justice and believes he will be vindicated on appeal.