By Fidelis Munyoro
Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), a gold buying subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is leaving no stone unturned in its battle to block the forfeiture of its Kwekwe gold mining claim over non-payment of statutory fees.
It has now turned to the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the recent High Court decision to endorse the forfeiture of the gold rich claim.
The appeal that was filed on Monday, comes after Fidelity and its business partner Caesar Zvayi had their application for confirmation of an interim relief granted to it in February to repossess the claim, forfeited to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development last year, thrown out for lack of merit. High Court judge Justice Joseph Mafusire upheld the ministry’s decision finding no fault in the forfeiture.
However, the noting of the appeal has an effect of suspending the latest High Court order. In its grounds of appeal, FPR, represented by lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, argues that the lower court erred in its interpretation and implementation of Section 260 of the Mines and Minerals Act.
According to Adv Zhuwarara, the provision does not permit the Minister and the provincial mining director to act arbitrarily and without due notice to an affected party such as FPR.
“Concomitantly, the court a quo also misdirected itself in finding that the 2nd Respondent (Midlands provincial mining director) had acted lawfully when such respondent had not given proper prior notice before forfeiting the appellant (Fidelity)’s mining rights in Mirage 3 Kwekwe,” read the grounds of appeal.
“Furthermore, the court a quo also erred in determining that the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act [Chapter 21:05] excused the first and second respondents from giving credence to the appellant’s rights as espoused in the Administrative Justice Act.
“Additionally, court a quo grossly misdirected itself in finding that in the circumstances, the third respondent had lawfully been issued a special grant, which grant only came into existence because of the unlawful forfeiture of the appellant’s mining rights in respect of Mirage 3 Kwekwe.” FPR, which had sold the gold mining claim to ex-Herald editor Caesar Zvayi, had listed the Minister of Mines, the provincial mining director for Midlands and new beneficiary Mr Jona Nyevera, as respondents.
In his ruling, Justice Mafusire said the forfeiture and the subsequent reallocation of the gold mining claim to Mr Nyevera was lawful because FPR had failed to pay the laid down annual fees for more than six years. The Herald