THE government’s bid to expropriate business mogul Mutumwa Mawere’s companies registered in the UK failed this week when a London court rule
d in favour of his Africa Resources Ltd.
Justice Evans-Lombe of the Company Court, Chancery Division, on Wednesday ruled that ARL retain the “right as the ultimate shareholder” of Shabane Mashaba Mines (SMM) and related companies.
“The judgement implies that the companies are all under my control,” said Mawere. “No notification was ever issued to me regarding the intentions of the government of Zimbabwe to unlawfully acquire my assets.”
Afras Gwaradzimba, appointed by the government in September 2004 to assume control and management of Mawere’s assets, admitted before the court in December the state’s involvement in the acquisition of SMM.
Gwaradzimba told the court that the nationalisation of Mawere’s business interests was done through AMG Global Nominees (AMG).
The administrator was a witness on behalf of the government in a case in which Mawere’s company, Africa Resources Limited (ARL) is a claimant against AMG, a shelf company used by the state to expropriate his assets. Gwaradzimba said AMG was a nominee of the government and was funded by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to acquire SMM.
Asked by Mawere’s lawyer, Francis Tregear, before Justice Evans-Lombe of the Company Court, to confirm that he and AMG were government nominees, Gwaradzimba initially said he was a nominee of the RBZ, but later admitted that he was representing the government.
According to a transcript of the court proceedings, Gwaradzimba said: “That is correct (I am a nominee of the government). But what I have said as well is correct in that I got it (funds to run SMM Holdings) from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”
The battle between AMG and ARL has been in the UK courts for the past three years.