THE High Court yesterday provisionally ordered the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to pave way for security personnel at Mbada Diamonds “to secure the company assets” ahead of tomorrow’s urgent chamber hearing where the diamond mining firm is challenging the directive to leave the gem fields.
High Court judge Joseph Mafusire made the order after Mbada Diamonds lawyer Sternford Moyo sought to have the ZRP moved off the mining sites.
Mauritian-registered company, Grandwell Holdings, with a 50% stake in Mbada Diamonds, approached the High Court seeking an interdict to reverse government’s decision to revoke mining licences for all companies operating at the Marange diamond fields.
The matter is set to be heard tomorrow at the High Court.
In his provisional order, Justice Mafusire said: “As a contingency plan pending the hearing of the matter on Wednesday March 2, 2016, as aforesaid or such other day as it might be heard, all the fifth respondent’s (Mbada Diamonds) security personnel with all their chain of command, shall forthwith return to the fifth respondent’s mining site in the Chiadzwa diamond concession and the first, second and fourth respondents shall allow such security personnel full access to the mining site, full access to all relevant premises thereat including residential premises, full access to all equipment, diamond ore and any other assets belonging to fifth respondent for the purpose of safeguarding such assets in every manner possible and the first, second and third respondents shall desist from interfering with such personnel.”
In the application, Grandwell wants Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Marange Resources and the newly-established Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) barred from interfering with its mining operations.
The company also wants the court to force government to “take all steps necessary to renew the special grants” that allows it to continue mining.
Grandwell Holdings also wants the court to grant an interim relief giving Mbada “complete control of the mining site”.
Chaos reportedly reigned supreme after government last month ordered the mining companies off the diamond fields following expiry of their licences.
The companies, according to Chidakwa, had also not responded positively to government’s call for the formation of a consolidated company to take charge of all diamond mining activities.
Chidakwa also accused the companies of plundering and short-changing the government on gem sales.
He said government would soon institute a forensic audit with a view to removing firms found to have defrauded the State.
But Grandwell Holdings chairman David Kassel, in his affidavit, described the government’s action as “an unlawful scheme designed to facilitate the nationalisation and/or expropriation of Mbada’s assets”.
“The government’s respondents have not considered the implications and consequences of this unlawful scheme. If an order in the terms sought in this application is not granted, this will inevitably signal the demise of the entire diamond mining industry in Zimbabwe with disastrous further impact on an already devastated economy,” Kassel said.