By Liberty Makusha
Zimbabwe is at the crossroads as the ‘New Dispensation’ tears apart it’s ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra.
On 12 March 2020, precisely 16 years after the extra-judicial reconstruction of Shabanie Mashaba Mines using what Prof. Jonathan Moyo, the former cabinet Minister in the late Mugabe’s administration, called a “satanic and barbaric” piece of legislation, Winston Chitando, the Mines Minister who is alleged to be a close business ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, confirmed that SMM is under the state owned Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation stable.
His confirmation is alarming to current and potential investors that private property remains unsafe under the facade of the New Dispensation. The Minister of Mines’ principal job is to protect investment but he was regrettably unashamed to confirm the fraudulent transfer of title to SMM shares outside the four corners of legality and constitutionality.
According to documents lodged with the Registrar of Companies in 2007 which purport to represent a company called Nickdale Investments Private Limited (Nickdale) as the holder of 76% of the allotted shares issued by SMM.
SMM was placed under the control of a state appointed Administrator, Mr Afaras Gwaradzimba, on 6 September 2004.
At the material time, SMM’s sole shareholder was a company registered in the United Kingdom, Shabanie Mashaba Holdings Limited (SMMH).
“What is puzzling in this bizarre theft of shares is that in terms of s23(1)(a) of the Reconstruction Act, only a reconstructed company can issue shares to third parties like Nickdale but the law has no provision for a company under reconstruction to issue shares to any party.
“It is disturbing that a transaction that is not permissible at law could form the basis for Hon Chitando to confirm the purported relationship between ZMDC and SMM,” said Mr. Tapuwa Chitambo, the Secretary General of not-for-profit organization, Friends of Shabanie Mashaba Mines (FOSMM).
Hon Ndebele said: “I asked Hon Chitando to confirm this issue in the knowledge that when former legislator and the then Chairman of the Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee Hon. Daniel Shumba, asked Hon Chitando the same question in January 2018, the Minister and his staff could not provide any information supporting the alleged ownership.”
“As a member of the Portfolio Committee, I found it strange that a company can have two centres of power namely, shareholders and directors on the one hand and an Administrator on the other when the sole purpose of the Act is to divest shareholders and directors of the control and management of a company.
“If ZMDC is the shareholder of Nickdale, then it means that SMM was taken out of reconstruction when the shares were issued and directors were appointed in respect of SMM,” Hon Ndebele further explained.
Mr Chitambo sought clarity from Mr Chitambira, the General Manager of ZMDC as to whether ZMDC in truth and fact was a shareholder of SMM as boldly asserted by Hon. Chitando in Parliament.
The ZMDC boss after initially confirming the version of the Minister, probably when he realised that he was giving away the state theft, then retracted his words saying that Mr. Chitambo should refer all questions to the Ministry of Mines.
“Why would any government whose legitimacy was drawn from the people seek to conceal information about the basis on which a state organ acquired private assets,” asked Hon Sikhala, a member representing Chitungwiza constituency.
“When a government becomes a predator, we all must worry. I live in the UK and can find no circumstances that would permit shares of a company to be hijacked in broad daylight and end up under the control of a government whose primary purpose is to protect the rights of citizens. This is a classic case of expropriation,’ said Mr Rockefeller Zimba a businessman and clinical specialist.
Mr Chitambo weighed in: “It is incumbent upon members of the civil society to get to the bottom of this matter. If Hon Chitando widely seem as a professional can easily be part of a cabal that can brazenly lie with impunity, I am not sure who will be safe.
“I have tried personally to engage Hon Chitando to no avail. I shudder to think if President Mnangagwa is personally aware of this scheme to use public power for personal benefit. We have no choice but to expose Hon Chitando for willingly and intentionally choosing to be part of a corrupt system.”
It would appear that although SMM’s new minority shareholder is listed as SMM UK, the address in the company’s records was fraudulently represented as Gwaradzimba’s address yet this is and ought to be a company domiciled in the UK.
This company was allotted 24% of the shares without its knowledge and consent.
Mr. Zimba explained: “It is only possible in Zimbabwe that a ghost company can be allotted shares. How could this fraud be allowed to take root in Zimbabwe. In terms of the records, SMM UK was issued shares by SMM under reconstruction which is not permitted in terms of the Reconstruction Act.
“A closer look at the records will show that a fraudulent CR6 form was issued and signed by Gwaradzimba. Of significance in relation to Nickdale is that when the illegal issuance of shares to the company was effected, Hon. Chasi who was working for the RBZ at the time was a director of the company. So far he has refused to come clean on his role in this grand theft.”