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Matanga told to guard Chitando's docket

by Staff reporter
02 Feb 2024 at 17:27hrs | Views
A FIRM embroiled in a fight for control of gold claims at a Bindura mine has petitioned the commissioner general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Godwin Matanga, over a docket opened against former mines minister Winston Chitando at Harare Central Police Station last week ‘so that it does not vanish.'

Angeline Munyeza, the director of Blackgate Investments, which lays claim to Kimberly 18, 19, 20 and 21 which includes

Ran Mine, last week filed criminal charges against Chitando, saying he abused his office when he overruled a decision by a special dispute resolution committee at the ministry to award ownership of the assets to a rival company in 2021.

The minister ruled that the disputed claims belonged to Ran Mines and G&P Industries Private Limited, which is currently operating the mine.

The dispute has been raging for over 15 years, according to documents obtained by the Truth Diggers, Alpha Media Holdings' investigative unit.

In the letter that was sent to Matanga on January 24, 2024, the Blackgate director laid "criminal abuse of duty as public officer", "fraud" as defined in Section 136 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, "contempt of court" and "conspiracy" charges against Chitando who was moved to the Ministry of Local Government in a postelection reshuffle after general elections in August last year.

"Overtime, we have realised that we are fighting a system that is rotten from the inside that has formed a thick web of corruption, bribery, intimidation, abuse of power and conspiracy, which starts from the base to the upper echelons of the system," Munyeza said, without naming any individuals.

The papers were also delivered to the National Prosecuting Authority and the chief registrar at the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe.

"I am writing to you on the premise of an emergency regarding a "high profile" docket that I have opened against the former Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Mr Winston Chitando whom is also the current Minister of Local Government and Public Works," she wrote.

"I believe that in your capacity as the custodian of the Zimbabwe Republic Police force and due to the nature of this docket that we have recently opened, you can assist us in the smooth processing and security of this docket.

"The aforementioned docket is part of a series of dockets that we have opened against multiple individuals, all revolving around a mining dispute of the ownership of the Ran Mine claims in Bindura which has dragged on for more than 15 years now.

During this protracted period, we have attempted to use every tool of the judiciary and the legal system of Zimbabwe at our disposal to no avail... We also opened a total of four dockets that are intertwined with the one of Mr Winston Chitando in October 2023. We opened these documents and submitted them with blatant incriminating evidence...but ever since then we have received vague progress regarding those cases."

The docket, which was seen by the Independent this week, is under reference number CR 695/01/24.

Officials at both the Mines Ministry and Local Government ministries declined to comment which Chitando did not respond to questions from the Truth Diggers.

The Independent reported in 2021 that some of Zimbabwe's top political figures had been dragged into the dispute in the battles to control the business.

The former mines minister was entangled in many disputes during his tenure at the ministry.

In July last year, he lost a protracted legal battle to control swatches of lithium rich claims in Mutoko, after a High Court judge raised concerns over potential conflict of interest.

The High Court ruled that Chitando's Barrington Resources had no claim to Good Days lithium fields, whose ownership had been disputed for a long time.

Justice Munamato Mutevedzi said the lithium blocks belong to Pulserate Investments.

Barrington was the applicant in the High Court case, which is referenced HC 8671/22, while Pulserate was cited as the second respondent.

"I must point out that the opaque manner in which the applicant (Barrington) seems to have acquired the title to the disputed mining location is the very reason why officials in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development are prohibited from having any direct or indirect interest in mining businesses in Zimbabwe," the High Court judge said.

"If they do, or are suspected of having done so like in this case, it breeds connotations of serious impropriety. I am constrained to find as I hereby do that the applicant, must as it may have a claim to the disputed mining blocks by some other reason not before this court, is not the prior pegger of the mining location under contention," he added.

Source - the independent