Chinhoyi gold mine wrangle takes new twist

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The $10 million Chinhoyi gold mine fraud trial involving a local businessman and a Chinese national accused of booting out the mine owner has taken a new twist with disclosures that the local businessman was, in fact, roped into the mining business by the Chinese complainant with a view to complying with the country’s indigenisation policy.

by STAFF REPORTER

The two business partners, Zhou Haixi and Tafirenyika Kambarami have since applied for discharge at the close of the State case in a matter in which they are alleged to have defrauded Chen Shaoliang and his daughter Chen Xiandong by taking over the operations of Eldorado Mine while Shaoliang was nursing illness in China.

Chen’s family also allegedly roped in Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Collin, as their personal interpreter, raising fears the latter could be earmarked for a place in the disputed gold mine.

Haixi and Kambarami, however, told regional magistrate Never Katiyo that Shaoliang and his daughter sold their entire shares in the mine, making them (the accused) the rightful owners of the business, an assertion the complainants dismissed as false.

“In this particular matter, the complainant seemed confused as to whether or not accused two (Kambarami) had never been a lawful director and shareholder of the company in question yet exhibit six clearly shows that a ZIA (Zimbabwe Investments Authority) certificate acquired by Wenzhou Enterprises on September 5 2011, the complainants — Shaoliang had 25% and Xiandong had 24% which accused two indicated to have 51%. This aspect is confirmed by the charge sheet,” Kambarami’s lawyer Admire Rubaya said.

“Therefore, it cannot be alleged that the second accused stole the company from the complainants’ consequent to the same shareholding which the complainants confirmed in the statement to have ceded to the second accused person consequent to the introduction of the indigenisation laws in Zimbabwe.”

Rubaya further said Chen should not seek to hoodwink the court into believing that all along, he had bad interpreters, a sentiment also echoed by Haixi’s lawyer Charles Chinyama.

“If anything, the complainant cannot blame the police for his statement, but he can only blame his own interpreter, Collin Mnangagwa as per his statement to the police . . . there is no evidence of the person who made misrepresentation to the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) or of the misrepresentation itself ever being made,” Chinyama said in Haixi’s application.

According to the evidence presented in court, the misrepresentation leading to the mine’s take over is alleged to have been made to ZIA, which prompted the latter to act upon that misrepresentation to the detriment of Chen’s family.

But in his application, Kambarami said the current matter did not amount to fraud as defined by Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.