HomeLocal NewsDiamond saga takes new twist

Diamond saga takes new twist

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The trial of Core Mining and Mineral Resources director Lovemore Kurotwi and former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chief executive Dominic Mubaiwa whose actions reportedly resulted in potential government prejudice of $2 billion, took a new twist yesterday after the Attorney-General’s Office made an application to travel to South Africa for an inspection in loco.

The State said the reason for the trip would be to establish whether Core Mining had offices and mining operations in South Africa as reported in the due diligence report compiled by the former ZMDC board in 2009.

Chief law officer Chris Mutangadura, who was assisted by Public Mpofu, submitted before Justice Chinembiri Bhunu at the High Court in Harare that ZMDC was supposed to have partnered an Israeli firm, BSGR, as opposed to Core Mining.

Mutangadura said as a result of the said due diligence, the government entered into a joint venture with Core Mining through Marange Resources thereby suffering a potential prejudice of $2 billion worth of investment.

“It is important for the court to appreciate through real and direct evidence on offices and places visited by the ZMDC team which allegedly conducted a due diligence exercise in South Africa,” Mutangadura said.

However, the defence team comprising Beatrice Mtetwa and Advocate Louis Uriri opposed the application arguing that the State’s application was a ploy to delay completion of trial and prejudice Kurotwi and Mubaiwa.

Uriri said the defence conceded there was due diligence done in South Africa and what was important was not the buildings where the meetings were held but the contents of the meetings.

“Not every dispute requires an inspection in loco, it is sad that in criminal proceedings, no order of costs can be made against the State. This is one case the State would have been asked to pay costs,” Uriri said.

Mtetwa said: “At no time was it said BSGR would partner ZMDC. Instead BSGR set conditions for the provisions of technical, financial and marketing support on condition ZMDC and Core Mining signed an agreement that was palatable to it.”

She further said the inspection in loco would be costly on the part of the State and above all the South African government would not authorise a foreign court
to visit privately-owned properties without consent from the owners. Justice Bhunu will deliver judgment on the matter this Friday.

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