Matanuska challenges ruling on seized banana farm

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Farming entity, Matanuska (Pvt) Ltd, are challenging a High Court ruling allowing retired army officer Edzai Chimonyo to harvest bananas from a plantation he seized late last year.

Matanuska wants the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by High Court judge, Justice Felistus Chatukuta allowing Chimonyo, a retired major general and also Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Tanzania, to harvest bananas from Fangundu Farm.

The farm, south – east of Mutare, is owned by Matanuska, whose shareholders are Dutch and Malaysian investors, Property Route Toute BV.

Immediately after moving into Fangundu Farm, Chimonyo reportedly started harvesting bananas and selling them to Sunspun Bananas (Pvt) Ltd forcing Matanuska to approach the High Court in a bid to stop his actions.

But Justice Chatukuta dismissed Matanuska’s application with costs on the grounds that the company did not have any title over the farm since it had been acquired by the state.

“The applicants ceased to be the owners of the land, plantations and fruits when the farm was acquired by the state,” Justice Chatukuta said.

But the judge said Chimonyo would have to compensate Matanuska in the event that they successfully challenge his occupation of the farm at the courts.

Matanuska have appealed at the Supreme Court arguing Justice Chatukuta erred in her ruling and that it should be overturned.

The company filed the appeal papers at the Supreme Court on March 1 this year. Chimonyo’s lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa, confirmed the latest development but expressed optimism that the ambassador would win the battle for control the banana plantation.