ZANU PF legislator and former deputy Finance minister David Chapfika has been dragged to the High Court, along with his brother Macdonald, in a case in which businessman Cornelius Abram Smit is seeking restoration of mining claims and other assets which he alleges are being illegally withheld from him.
The matter is currently before the High Court under file number 7632/2014, and Chapfika — who is also the Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance — is listed as fourth respondent along with Macdonald who is fifth respondent.
Other respondents are Quarrying Enterprises Private Limited (listed as first respondent), Stone Holdings Private Limited (second) and Godfrey Mutemachani (third).
Smit alleges the Chapfikas and other respondents violated a shareholding agreement with him in which they were supposed to give the latter’s company (Stonewall Searches Private Limited) 30% shareholding in a new company (Quarrying Enterprises).
In return, Smit and the other applicants were supposed to transfer mining claims and equipment to the new company.
Chapfika and co-respondents were also supposed to have transferred their mining claims to the new company which they allegedly failed to do.
“I submit that respondents have obtained possession of my assets without any payment nor compensation and I believe this is tantamount to a criminal act,” argues Smit who further claims that because of the failure of the respondents to meet their obligations, the agreement to form Quarrying Enterprises is therefore a nullity and the applicants are “hereby seeking a rei vindicatio (legal action by which the plaintiff demands that the defendant return a thing that belongs to the plaintiff) of certain claims and assets which they own and are their property and which are illegally and unlawfully in respondents’ possession.”
The wrangle dates back to 2001 when Chapfika allegedly invaded Smit’s Ruenya Granite Mine in Mutoko, which was subsequently shut down.
In his court papers, Smit states that “in 2000, fourth respondent (Chapfika) and Rehman Hassim unlawfully invaded the claims and I was forcibly evicted therefrom.”
He narrates subsequent developments in which he, the Chapfikas and others resolved their dispute by agreeing to the formation of Quarrying Enterprises and coming up with a shareholding structure in which Smit’s Stonewall Searches Private Limited would receive 30% shareholding after transferring mining claims and equipment to the new company.
Other shareholders would be Stone Holdings (55%), Godfrey Mutemachani (3%), David and Macdonald Chapfika (3% each) and the late David Karimanzira (3%).
Smit has been in the granite mining business for almost 30 years having first “discovered certain virgin deposits in the Mutoko district which we legally pegged and commenced mining thereon.”