The ownership wrangle over Shabanie Mashava Holdings (SMM) continues to take twists and turns with business mogul Mutumwa Mawere accusing Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa of “undermining the rule of law and respect of property rights”.
Mawere was responding to evidence given by Chinamasa before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on Monday.
The minister told the committee that Mawere did not own SMMH anymore and he had caused the total collapse of the asbestos mines through fraud.
He further stated that Mawere never paid the $60 million required of him to complete the sale and purchase agreement with T&N Plc (formerly known as Turner and Newell Plc).
“It is instructive that Chinamasa insisted that I did not own SMM Holdings Limited (SMMH), a company incorporated in the UK that is the sole shareholder of SMM Holdings Private Limited (SMM),” said Mawere.
“If Chinamasa on July 9, 2004, came to the conclusion that it was in the interests of justice to specify me in respect of the affairs of SMM, then how can it be the case that after six years I am suddenly irrelevant? If I am irrelevant today, then it stands to reason that I should have been irrelevant then.
“If I had not been the owner of SMM as alleged by Chinamasa, then why would it be the case that I could be credited with destroying that which I did not own in the first place?
“Chinamasa makes the case that he, and not the seller of SMMH, gave control of the companies to me but not ownership, without explaining how control can be legally divested from an owner without an agreement providing for the transfer of ownership and control.
“If it was the case that I had no ownership rights as alleged, then the only relationship between the previous owner of SMMH — T & N Plc — and Africa Resources Limited, as the purchaser, would have been that of principal and agent.
“As a lawyer, Chinamasa should know that you cannot refer to an agreement being that of sale and purchase if in reality the outcome is that one would be an agent of a contracting party.”
He further argues that if it is indeed true and factual that government was involved in the acquisition of SMMH, then there would have been no need of passing a new legal instrument to allow the appointment of an administrator by the executive branch of government rather than by the judiciary as prescribed by the Companies Act that has general application.
“The minister makes the case that I failed to raise the $60 million required as the consideration for the shares in a UK-based company and not a Zimbabwean company where he has jurisdiction.
“If this was factually correct, then the injured party would be the seller and any rational seller would not need the assistance of Chinamasa to assert its rights.
“Why would Chinamasa want to superimpose himself in a commercial transaction?
“The only justifiable reason would be that he had no other window to poke his nose in this transaction other than invoking state of emergency powers to achieve what could not be achieved using existing laws.
“How then would the government now end up owning 100% of a UK-registered company?” queries Mawere.