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Smelly Dube challenges land probe

20 Oct 2019 at 23:54hrs | Views
A Gweru land developer has approached the Bulawayo High Court seeking to bar a commission set up to investigate the parcelling of out state land across the country from summoning the company's director.

River Valley Properties argued that Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) had no right to summon its director Smelly Dube because she was not appointed by fellow directors to represent the firm.

The company cited the ZLC commissioners led by Justice Tendai Uchena as respondents in the application for review.

River Valley Properties said Dube was not appointed to represent River Valley in "such judicial or quasi-judicial or administrative forum."

"The order is unlawful in that such an order violates Section 9 of the Companies Act to the extent that the said Smelly Dube may not represent applicant - a body corporate - she having not been duly appointed by applicant as a body corporate to represent it," reads part of the application.

River Valley Properties wants the commission's order for "Dube to testify or give evidence or answer questions on behalf of applicant reviewed and set aside.

"The order impugned is an unlawful to the extent that such order compels applicant to avail an unlawful person or one of the three directors to testify or give evidence or answer questions for and on behalf of applicant," the firm's lawyer Nqobani Sithole argued.

Sithole said River Valley Properties had three directors namely Smelly Dube, Richard Chiwara and Mncedisi Dube. They said Chiwara had been nominated to appear before the commission.

"The first inquiry first held its hearing in Gweru on June 18 2019 in relation to the sale of land in and around the urban areas of the Midlands," he said.

"Applicant duly presented one of its appointed directors at the commission to give evidence to the commission and to respond to questions from it.

"On June 27 when the commission of inquiry intended to proceed with applicant having been called upon to avail Smelly Dube per the commission's orders, it turned out the said Dube fell ill and was unable to attend the hearings."

The ZLC, which has filed a notice to oppose the application said it had the mandate to subpoena Dube.

Uchena argued that Dube was being summoned as a witness because of issues that were raised against her during hearings.

River Valley properties argues that other land developers were represented by managers and not directors during hearings by the commission.

During the hearings it was alleged that Dube used an Ecocash line registered under Lindrover Investments to bribe people, including state media journalists.

The line reportedly belongs to Zanu-PF and was used to finance the party's activities.

A number of Zanu-PF heavyweights allegedly received money through the facility, especially in 2014 at the height of an onslaught against former vice-president Joice Mujuru.

Most of the allegations against Dube were raised by former workers, who were fired by River Valley Properties over alleged criminal offences.

Source - the standard
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