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SMM wrangle rages

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Shabanie Mashaba Mines Holdings (SMMH) has denied claims by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) it now owns the comatose asbestos mines in Zvishavane and Mashaba and has taken the legal route to stop ZMDC from assuming ownership.

The asbestos mines were shut down more than six years ago due to viability problems and failure to pay creditors like Zesa. They have been at the centre of controversy between Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, businessman Mutumwa Mawere and SMM administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba.

Chinamasa has claimed before Parliament the government and not Mawere now owned SMMH and last week ZMDC announced through the State media it had assumed ownership and will start extracting asbestos from Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM) in November.

But SMMH’s South African lawyers, Kyle Attorneys on November 1, demanded that by close of business yesterday ZMDC should prove beyond doubt they rightfully owned SMMH.

The letter was copied to Finance minister Tendai Biti, Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, Justice and Legal Affairs minister Chinamasa and SMM administrator Gwaradzimba.
“It is denied ZMDC could in any conceivable manner obtain lawful ownership or in fact did obtain lawful ownership of SMMH, as being alleged in the aforesaid article (Herald October 31) or at all,” said Kyle Attorneys.

“Kindly by close of business, tomorrow Wednesday (yesterday), 2 November 2011 furnish this firm with proof, on what basis of law or circumstance you contend ZMDC has obtained lawful ownership of SMMH, naturally with all the supporting documentation.”

ZMDC chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa was last week quoted as having said SMM will be ticking soon and that mining would begin in a few weeks.
But, Kyle Attorneys argue that at all material times SMMH was the registered and lawful shareholder of all the issued capital of SMMH and that the sale of the bearer share warrants in 2004 had not been authentic.

“On or about November 5, 2004, T&N Plc under administration (T&N) purported to sell the bearer share warrants held as security for ARL’s obligations pursuant to the original sale agreements whereby ARL purchased and acquired ownership of SMMH, from T&N, to AMG Global Nominees (Pvt) Limited (AMG) (the purported sale agreement),” wrote Kyle Attorneys.

“Subsequent to the purported sale agreement, AMG sought an order of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, under case number 1205/2005, to have SMMH share registered rectified to record it as being the true and lawful owners of all the issued share capital held in SMMH.

“The High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, dismissed AMG’s application for rectification of SMMH’s share register, as it found that T&N had no right or lawful entitlement to sell or dispose of the bearer share warrants.

“The matter was taken on appeal by AMG which appeal was similarly dismissed,” they said.

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