ZIMBABWE-BORN South African businessman Mutumwa Mawere has pleaded with the co-Home Affairs ministers to facilitate the return of his companies placed under administration when he was specified in 2004.
In a letter dated February 3 to ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone, Mawere said: “I am compelled to approach you to discharge your duties in terms of the Prevention of Corruption Act by returning all the assets that were under my control on 26 August 2004.”
He wrote the letter two days after losing a Supreme Court application to invalidate the Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act.
The embattled business mogul was specified on July 9 2004 by Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa and was de-specified on May 19 last year by Mohadi and Makone.
Mawere owns African Resources Ltd (ARL), which is the beneficial shareholder in SMM Holdings Ltd, and THZ Holdings, which in turn owned, among others, Shabanie Mashaba Mines, Steelnet, First Bank Corporation, UKI, CFI Holdings and ZimRe Holdings.
In the letter, Mawere intimated that he received legal advice to the effect that the collapse of his constitutional application did not have a bearing on his companies being arbitrarily taken from him through the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“We are advised that this ruling has no bearing on the SMM matter,” Mawere wrote, “as the reconstruction order was only issued after specification,” he wrote.
Mawere argued that his assets should not have been tampered with while he was specified.
“The Prevention of Corruption Act prohibits any person from disposing of the assets of a specified person,” Mawere said, “and yet the effect of the reconstruction order was to permit an administrator in terms of another law to deal with the assets of the specified person.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Mawere said the Tuesday Supreme Court judgment was inimical to democracy.
“We were testing the independence of the judiciary in commercial transactions between two companies,” Mawere said. “What the Supreme Court said is not democracy. There is no other democratic state where such a law exists.”
He added that: “One is tempted to wonder if it was not Chinamasa speaking through the judges.”
In a majority decision of four to one, the Supreme Court bench dismissed an application to declare the Reconstruction Act unconstitutional.
“In the result,” Justice Paddington Garwe said. “This application has no merit and is accordingly dismissed with costs. The opinion of Sandura (Wilson) JA will be handed (down) in due course.”
The judgment was written by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and supported by Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Paddington Garwe and Misheck Cheda.
“Shares of the affected companies are in the United Kingdom and are not affected,” Mawere said. “The Supreme Court ruling has no extra territorial effect. Ownership will only be determined by the English law.”
He said future generations would give an honest judgment of the matter when they read history on the basis of papers filed on record in the courts.
“I cannot litigate again after the Supreme Court ruling but the people court will make their opinion on my actions,” Mawere said.
Neither minister was reachable yesterday for their comments.