THE battle for Shabani Mashava Mine (SMM) has spread to the United Kingdom with the holding companies, SMM (UK) and THZ (UK), now seeking to block the Zimbabwean governme
nt from registering as the new owner of the companies.
The Zimbabwe government claims that it now owns SMM (Zimbabwe) after it bought the holding companies SMM (UK) and THZ (UK) from T&N Plc through AMG Global Nominees for US$2 million.
The government used AMG Global Nominees, a company owned by SMM’s administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba, to buy the companies. SMM and THZ have however gone to court arguing that the transaction was illegal and represented the expropriation of private companies by the government of Zimbabwe.
They are arguing that AMG Global Nominees should not be registered as the new owners of the companies because it represents the government of Zimbabwe, whose key officials are under European Union and US sanctions.
SMM and THZ argue that allowing the nominee company to be registered in UK as new owners amounts to condoning the Zimbabwe government’s seizure of private property. The UK government has imposed “targeted” sanctions on prominent officials of the government. The sanctions bar government related companies from doing business in the UK.
AMG Global Nominees argue that they are the new shareholders of the group after buying it for US$2 million from T&N administrators, a United States company called Kroll. The lawyers of SMM and THZ argue that their sale to ANG Global Nominees was done without due diligence to ascertain its link to the government of Zimbabwe. They say the transaction breached the sanctions and therefore cannot stand.
The matter is also likely to suck in Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono, who is being accused of playing a crucial role in the takeover of SMM. Papers in possession of businessdigest show that Gono played a major role in the takeover when he allowed the RBZ to give the government US$2 million to buy the companies in UK.
The payment was made at a time when the country was reeling under serious foreign currency shortages. Gono was also supposed to be part of a delegation accompanying Gwaradzimba to the UK to negotiate the agreement.