THE ownership wrangle of the lucrative Matetsi Unit 3 Concession in Matabeleland North has taken another twist following the failure by the highest bidder of last month’s auction to honour his $710 million bid.
Klaudius Hove, the propriet
or of Kanetuta Safaris, failed to pay the $710 million for his winning bid within the stipulated seven days. He also lost $20 million non-refundable deposit he had paid to the National Parks and Wildlife Authority.
The concession, formerly run by Jacob Mudenda for a decade, went under the hammer in August after the expiry of his lease agreement with the National Parks.
Mudenda, chairman of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, had launched an appeal with the Supreme Court to block the auctioning of the concession pending the outcome of a High Court ruling on an ownership wrangle of the property. However, the auction went ahead resulting in Hove outclassing the other bidders.
Parks public relations manager, Retired Major Edward Mbewe, confirmed the latest developments, saying the concession was to be offered to the second highest bidder.
“I can confirm that Klaudius Hove failed to pay the money within the stipulated seven days but at the moment I am not in a position to disclose the name of the second highest bidder who has since been awarded the tender,” confirmed Mbewe.
Mudenda’s lawyer, Fanuel Piki of IEG Musimbe & Partners, expressed confidence in the outcome of the court ruling.
“We have just finished putting together our record of appeal and we have since received the management authority’s plea and we are waiting for the minister’s plea. I can say boldly that we are confident of winning the case.
“The management authority is saying that it did not concur with the minister when they auctioned the concession. The Act clearly stipulates that there must be concurrence with the minister in every case handled. That is an in-house problem; it must not affect my client. We therefore expect the Supreme Court to grant us the concession,” said Piki. However, Mbewe de-fended the authority using the same Act referred to by Piki.
“The former lease-holder made an appeal to the court but unfortunately an appeal cannot change the ruling of the court. We cannot stop conducting our business because of the appeal.”