One of the country’s leading diamond mining firms, Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd, is set to lose property worth over $830 000 after it failed to appear in court to defend its labour case, resulting in the High Court making a default judgment in favour of the firm’s former security guards.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The company’s 200 former guards had filed an $837 506,22 claim against their ex-employer whom they accused of breaching contractual obligations.
According to court papers, the diamond firm employed over 200 security guards between 2010 and 2012 who were now demanding packages ranging from $700 to $7 000 each.
When the matter was brought before an arbitrator identified as S Magumisi, he found Anjin’s defence not convincing.
“In the circumstances, I find the claims raised by the claimant (employees) as with foundation,” he said.
Sometime in February this year, the security guards appeared before High Court judge Justice November Mtshiya and had their arbitral award, registered as a court order in terms of Section 98(4) of the Labour Act, allowing the guards to obtain a writ of execution against Anjin’s property.
However, in April this year, Anjin filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution, but failed to attend on the court date prompting High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to dismiss the application with costs.
The applicant (Anjin) being in default, it is accordingly ordered that the application be and is hereby dismissed with costs,” Bhunu ruled.
Anjin Investment is a joint venture between the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and Chinese investors in a diamond mining project in Marange.
According to court papers, after the registration of the arbitral award as a court order, Anjin then filed an application for condonation for late filing of an appeal against the arbitral award, which is still pending at the Labour Court.
“The applicant intends to suspend the execution of the arbitral award registered by this honourable court pending the determination of application for condonation of late filing of appeal,” Anjin said.
In his affidavit, Anjin’s secretary Charles Tarumbwa said the parties were referred for compulsory arbitration in October 2012 and it was agreed that on oral hearing would be made to lead evidence from each employee.
However, Tarumbwa said despite this agreement, the arbitrator refused or failed to hold oral hearings and an arbitral award in favour of the employees was handed down two years later after which it was registered as a court order followed by the issuing of a writ of execution against Anjin’s property.
“Applicant is seeking that the arbitral award that has caused attachment of applicant’s assets be suspended pending the hearing of applicant’s
application for condonation,” Tarumbwa said.
The employees claimed that they were being terrorised and victimised for pursuing their claim, an assertion Anjin denied.