High Court judge Justice Christopher Dube-Banda has declared granite mining company, Southern Granite the rightful owner of Mutuwi Mine in an ownership wrangle that had sucked in Mines minister Wiston Chitando.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The dispute started when Chitando cancelled Southern Granite’s licence in favour of Quarrying Enterprise.

Southern Granite company successfully challenged Chitando’s decision to delegate his statutory powers to a committee that later recommended the cancellation of its registration certificate to mine for granite in Mutoko.

Dube-Banda delivered two judgments on an application filed by Southern Granite against Chitando’s decision to cancel their registration certificates after Quarrying Enterprise complained that they had overpegged on a granite claim belonging to them.

The second application was filed by Quarrying Enterprise seeking an order to stop Southern Granite from mining in the area which they alleged was their claim.

Quarrying Enterprise based its argument on a ruling made on April 4, 2018 by Mashonaland East provincial mines director.

Aggrieved by the ruling of the provincial director, Southern Granite then appealed the decision to Chitando, who then set up a committee which he gave statutory powers to decide on the complaint.

Chitando then upheld the decision by the Mashonaland East provincial director.

Southern Granite then approached the High Court for the review of Chitando’s decision.

Southern Granite submitted documentary evidence that included registration certificates dating back from September 28, 2007 and inspection fees receipts from 2007 to date. They also submitted other documentary evidence proving their ownership of the said claim.

Quarrying Enterprise also disputed that the mining claim was initially held in the name of Dimension Stone Quarries before it was transferred to them on May 15, 2008. They also attached documentary evidence written in long hand which proved their claim.

Justice Dube-Banda, however, ruled in favour of Southern Granite on the ownership of the claim saying after analysing the evidence at his disposal, Southern Granite legally acquired the claim and said Quarrying Enterprise had not met the requirements to be given an interdict order since they were not the legal owner of the claim.

Dube-Banda also ruled that Chitando’s decision to cancel the registration certificate of Southern Granite was unlawful since Southern Granite had evidence of constructed markings in 2007 and obtained certificates consistently from 2007 to date.

He also ruled that Quarrying Enterprise could not have obtained certificates in relation to the same claim for the same period.

“Quarrying Enterprise could not have obtained certificates in relation to the same mining location for the same period,” Dube-Banda said.

“Again there is something further wrong, the inspection certificate of 2015 was issued before the certificate for 2014, I agree with the Southern Granite counsel Stanford Moyo that these factors, cumulatively, create an impression that these certificates were issued after the event in an effort to mislead and portray a falsehood that inspections were carried out when no such inspections were carried out.”

Dube-Banda also ruled that Chitando and his permanent secretary did not attend the hearing to come up with the decision to cancel Southern Granite’s registration certificate.