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‘High Court did not authorise Mbada to sell diamonds’

THE dismissal of an urgent High Court application barring the sale of diamonds by Canadile and Mbada does not mean that the government can go ahead with the sale of the precious stones, African Consolidated Resources (ACR) has said.

Last week ACR had its urgent application to stop the sale of the diamonds thrown out by the High Court saying it was not urgent.
“It is essential to note that the High Court has not authorised the sale of the diamonds as has been widely reported,” said Andrew Cranswick, the ACR chief executive officer.
“He (the judge) was not at liberty to do so and was not asked by any of the parties to approve a sale.  ACR’s legal advice is that any sale of the disputed diamonds would be in conflict with the clear intention and the direct order of the Chief Justice in the 16 February judgement.”
The  February 16 judgment ordered that all diamonds acquired  from the  Marange Claims  Area be  surrendered to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and  that all  mining activities  on the  Marange Claims Area cease  until determination of  the appeal against  the  September 25 judgement in the Supreme Court.
ACR has since lodged a new application with the High Court to bar the sale of diamonds by Canadile and Mbada, the two companies picked by the Mines minister Obert Mpofu after ACR was elbowed out of Marange.
“The High Court dismissed the application on the basis  that the matter was not urgent, and on that basis alone, as it considered ACR would have other remedies available  to it if the diamonds were  sold,” said Cranswick.
“He (the judge) specifically stated that he was making no finding on the merits.”
In its urgent application, ACR had claimed that an interim interdict stopping the sale of diamonds held by Mbada and Canadile be issued.
It also sought an order that all diamonds mined from the Marange Claims Area held by the two companies be handed over to the RBZ for safekeeping as per the February ruling.
ACR said they would continue lobbying government for a “rational, just and fair settlement” of the matter which could satisfy all stakeholders and bring about a final solution quickly.
“It  is ACR’s contention that the intransigence of Mbada and Canadile, their lack of respect for the court and  their lack of will to compromise for the good of the  nation is damaging Zimbabwe’s  image at  home and  abroad and delaying the point  when  the  diamonds  discovered  by  it  at  Marange may benefit Zimbabwe transparently and fairly,” added Cranswick
ACR said they had made presentations to government stating that they would not oppose the sale of the precious stones if all diamonds in dispute were sold to reputable interested parties once certification had been obtained pursuant to the Kimberley Process. Kimberly Process is an international governmental certification process set up to prevent trade in illegal diamonds.
It was also suggested that the proceeds from the sale be paid to government which would issue a tax or royalty credit for a sum equivalent to 50% of the sale proceeds.
ACR said these suggestions were turned down, leaving them with no choice but to approach the courts for recourse.
Companies have been fighting for the control of Marange diamonds and government has come in through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation which has partnered Mbada and Canadile.
ACR has been systematically elbowed out and the fight has been shifted to the courts and a conclusion is yet to be found.

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