Matanuska face charges of violating the Land Reform Act

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THE ownership dispute over a banana plantation in Burma Valley, south – east of Mutare has taken yet another twist with directors of Matanuska (Pvt) being dragged to court facing charges of violating provisions of the Land Reform Act.

The directors are accused of contravening the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act in that they failed to vacate Fangundu Farm once it was gazetted for resettlement.

The directors, Johannes Makumidze and Richard Chiwandire last week appeared before provincial magistrate, Billiard Musakwa.

The two appeared on behalf of Matanuska, owners of the plantation which has been occupied by Edzai Chimonyo, a retired army general and also Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania.

They are being represented by Advocate Uriri, David Drury of Gollop and Blank and David Tandiri of Maunga, Maanda and Associates.

The matter was postponed to April 8 when the trial is expected to kickoff.

The latest twist comes as the Malaysian owners of Matanuska have launched a political and diplomatic offensive to regain control of their banana plantation.

Two weeks ago the major investors in Matanuska, Rainbow Century SDN.BHD met Vice President John Nkomo who promised to help them regain control of the plantation.

Top diplomats from the Malaysian embassy in Harare arranged the meeting with Nkomo.

But officials from Matanuska were this week worried about the latest turn of events, especially after Nkomo’s assurances that things would now be under control.

“We thought with the intervention of the VP all these problems would have stopped but it looks like the state is determined to proceed with the prosecution,’ said one official from the beleaguered firm.

If convicted, Matanuska will be ordered to vacate the land in addition to any other penalty that the court may impose.