Kunaka Defends Yarrowdale Farm Take over

LAWYERS representing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official Matthews Kunaka who has laid claim to Yarrowdale farm in Mazoe have launched a counterattack on Interfresh saying the land had been gazetted for acquisition by government and therefore the company was farming illegally.

Interfresh Limited has challenged the occupation of the farm by Kunaka and six others. Two weeks ago the Zimbabwe Independent revealed attempts by Kunaka to take over the farm. Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono waded into the saga, warning Kunaka against taking over the farm.

Yesterday, Kunaka’s lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa wrote the Independent claiming our earlier article was “potentially defamatory” and the farm in question was legally acquired by the state in 2005. He annexed correspondence to Interfresh lawyers Kantor & Immerman to the letter.

 “The property is gazetted land, having been acquired by the state on September 15 2005 pursuant to the provisions of section 16B(2)(a) of the constitution of Zimbabwe as enacted by the constitutional Amendment (No 17 Act of 2005),” said Mlotshwa in the letter to Interfresh.

He said Interfresh had no right to resist the “lawful” takeover of the farm and should stop issuing statements which are “false and defamatory” to their clients.

“We note that a cautionary statement has been issued by your client (Interfresh) in local press regarding the farm. The statement is misleading and fails to disclose the legal status of the property,” said Mlotshwa.

He said Interfresh’s activities on the farm were illegal.

Kantor & Immerman have however challenged Kunaka’s lawyers to provide personal details of the other individuals claiming to have been allocated portions of the farm.

Correspondence to hand shows that Mlotshwa had at the time of going to press not provided such details.

Kantor & Immerman also want Kunaka’s lawyers provide copies of all the offer letters that their clients were relying on showing name of client, business and home address and national registration number.

Mlotshwa on February 19 responded saying: “We are obtaining our clients further fuller instructions in respect of the same. You will appreciate that not all of them are resident in Harare and are thus not readily available.”

Interfresh alleges that on February 7, a group of individuals accompanied by ZRP officers and a uniformed ZNA military policeman claimed ownership of plots comprising Yarrowdale farm, the crop section of Mazoe Citrus Estate.

They are alleged to have demanded that Interfresh employees vacate all the houses on the farm by February 13 so that they could move in.

Interfresh are insisting that they have title deeds to the farm and were entitled to peaceful and undisturbed possession of the estate until such rights were varied by an order of a competent of court.

BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA