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Top lawyer Mtetwa ordered to stop disposing of controversial US$57k cash – New

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

MTETWA and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners have been ordered by the High Court to stop disbursing US$57 000 cash that was found in one of their strong rooms during an investigations into a trust funds theft case involving US$32 million.

According to court papers, the money was stashed in a strong room when police stumbled upon it.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers were investigating allegations against the firm’s accountant, Tendai Murambiza.

The matter then spilled into the courts after Rugwandi and Rujuwa Legal Practitioners claimed the money belonged to them and had been given to Murambiza for safekeeping by one Mark Rujuwa, who was an associate of Mtetwa and Nyambirayi, from March 2016 to December last year.

Rugwandi is now running his own law firm.

The lawyer told the high court that Mtetwa and Nyambirayi, while recognising that the money is not part of what was stolen by Murambiza, still want to know why it was in their safe in the first place.

He said Mtetwa wanted to use the money to offset what her law firm is owed by Murambiza.

Rugwandi and Rujuwa listed Mtetwa, Tawanda Nyambirai, Mzokuthula Mbuyisa, Douglas Coltart and Murambiza as respondents.

They sought interim orders to compel Mtetwa and Nyambirayi to deposit, in hard currency, US$57 000 with the Registrar of the High Court, pending the finalisation of the case.

They also wanted Mtetwa and Nyambirayi and its staff interdicted from using or dissipating the cash.

High Court judge, Justice Cathrine Bachi-Mzawazi, granted the relief sought.

“One cannot set-off a debt owed between two parties on money belonging to a third party not privy to the credit agreement. The respondents have been aware that the money was entrusted to the fifth respondent (Murambiza). I find no prejudice to the respondents if the alternative interim relief is granted. What the applicants are simply stating is that, we sought safe custody in your strong room, albeit without your knowledge and consent,” the judge said.

“We still feel it is safe for that money to be in your strong room, pending the resolution of the source of dispute now that you are aware. However, respect that money, do not assert any claims to it, until a court of law decides on whether to release the money and to whom it is to be released. Accordingly, the application for an interim dissipation order succeeds in part,” she said.

“Pending the determination of this matter, the applicant is granted the following interim relief; that the respondents be and are hereby interdicted from utilising or disposing the US$57 000, which was placed for safe keeping by the applicant through the fifth respondent in their strongroom.”

Rugwandi and Rujuwa told the court that  the money found on 24 or 25 February was in a separate and clearly marked container and it was proven to belong to a client of Rugwandi and Rujuwa, said the draft order.

Rugwandi explained that he performed a transaction for the sale of a property at his law firm after business hours and was worried about security issues.

He said he kept the money with him until the following day, on a Friday, but his worry about security did not abate.

He then spoke to Murambiza, whom he had worked with when he was an associate at Mtetwa and Nyambirai and he said he could keep the money safe in the strongroom over the holiday weekend and return it on Tuesday 22 February.

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China's Huayou Cobalt to invest $300 million in Zimbabwe lithium mine – CNA

HARARE : China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt plans to invest $300 million on rapid development of a lithium mine and processing plant at its newly acquired Arcadia project in Zimbabwe, according to company documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

Huayou, one of the world’s biggest producers of cobalt, recently completed a $422 million purchase of the hard-rock lithium mine just outside Harare from Australia-listed Prospect Resources and other Zimbabwean minorities.

“We intend to develop the project rapidly over the next year and invest around $300 million to develop the mine and construct a process plant with a capacity to treat around 4.5 million tonnes of ore and produce 400,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per annum,” Huayou subsidiary Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said in an update on the project.

The Arcadia project is expected to deliver its first batch of lithium-bearing minerals spodumene and petalite in 2023, the company said.

Lithium prices have soared this year as carmakers have struggled to source the metal used in electric vehicle batteries.

Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe said it would employ 600 locals during the construction phase, with up to 900 jobs being created when production begins.

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Trouble in paradise; murder claims, racism claims rock Borrowdale Brooke – New

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By Mary Taruvinga

GLIDING through the smooth roads lined with a fusion of indigenous and exotic trees marching virtually without interlude but for the occasional glamorous, plush homes, any first timer to this exquisite and serene neighbourhood is left in awe.

It is not the sort of neighbourhood you can stray into.

Many of the homes on narrow, winding streets of this gentrified suburb are occupied by the country’s rich and famous, who have taken the unusual step of obtaining city permits to remove the streets in their neighborhood from public use and shouldering huge sums of money to install electronic barriers.

The residents say that they want to protect themselves from traffic, crime and transients from poor communities.

This is not just not another suburb; this is Borrowdale Brooke – where only the richest of the land reside.

It is ideally a verdant, tranquil environ where residents co-exist in utmost serenity, but it has recently experienced some massive turbulence resembling the ghetto.

It all started when businessman Shingi Munyeza, chairperson of the Borrowdale Brooke HomeOwners Association (BBHOA) decided to punish the effervescent Gokwe Nembudziya legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, for violating the peace that these people sought to enjoy by cutting themselves off from everyone.

Wadyajena, Munyeza and Co. claimed, rolled down the streets in a thunderous vehicle dead at night and roamed on those boulevards for two good hours.

The association did not waste time to act. It deactivated his access codes once the sun had risen and relegated him to the visitors lane.

Wadyajena sought legal recourse, demanding immediate restoration of his codes and describing as humiliating his relegation to the outer lane.

It actually turned out that the lane is as smooth as any other road here and people in places like Highfield would appreciate one half as good in their area.

The youthful legislator easily won the case at the High Court, which ruled the association simply had no case.

Another case soon followed. The association had barred Wadyajena’s construction workers from accessing the area. Again, he won it.

The story does not end there. Last Friday, Wadyajena wrote to Munyeza, not sparing the tongue lash he is accustomed to.

He declared all this was a case of political persecution and racism.

He claimed Munyeza was not is own man, but was doing the bidding for and on behalf of white people who live there.

Shingi Munyeza

Wadyajena said him and Munyeza have a well documented rivalry which has dragged on for three good years. Over what, he did not state.

“I have been falsely accused of murder, my wife was falsely accused of attempted murder, my brother was physically attacked by Brooke management, you unlawfully barred me accessi to my properties, I have been falsely accused of defacing Brooke property and I have been falsely accused of racing my vehicles on Brooke property,” Wadyajena said.

Wadyajena said he has not known peace in this paradise.

The legislator claimed that he had an unpleasant visit by heavily armed detectives from the homicide department, who raided his house following a ‘misguided’ tipoff by the Brooke management in which he was erroneously cited as the key suspect in the murder of one Nancy Duncan who stayed in the Sun River Manor, a private gated compound.

“This was a disturbing and malicious attempt to connect me and my family to a supposed crime that we had absolutely no knowledge of. Of course, this turned out to be complete, trumped-up nonsense, but the egregiousness of the accusation cannot be overstated and constitutes a serious disregard of the personal safety and dignity of all of us; but, falsely pegging me and other members of my family for murder seems to be a Brooke Association pastime,” he said.

He added that the Brooke management needlessly denied him permission to proceed with his ongoing construction projects on the pretense of an inspection, yet they had copies of his approved plans and was bent on frustrating him.

Wadyajena said going forward, it will not be business as usual.

“Dr. Munyeza, while I have tried to believe that this constant dance between murder, illegal construction, and noise allegations is not of a personal nature, all indications are that I am a target, and that deliberate actions have been taken to silence me, to paint me as an ‘undesirable neighbor ‘and ultimately to hound me out of The Brooke,” he said.

“Some known residents have faced very similar kinds of blatant persecution and eventually left The Brooke, but I am not most people, and I am not for turning,” he dared Munyeza.

“It is clear that the published lies are intended to create the perception of me as uncooperative in the eyes of the public audience that you have invited to these matters. However, make no mistake, I am prepared to take whatever comes at me head on and fortunately, I do not require the attention or acceptance from certain quarters of society and I am not at all reliant on the public gaze to validate my sense of right and wrong.”

He summed up his love letter to Munyeza with quite a sumptuous punchline: “I want to assure you, Mr. Chairman, that while I may be from Gokwe – and extremely proud of it – I am going nowhere.”

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Zimbabwe is Asking the World to Let it Sell $600 Million in Black Market Ivory – The Motley Fool

Last week, in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, diplomats from the US, EU, UK, and Canada were led on a tour of heavily fortified vaults secured by armed guards. What was inside? Contraband.

On Monday, the Zimbabwean government launched a conference aimed at swaying the international community into letting it sell $600 million worth of ivory confiscated from poachers and criminal organizations. To some, saying yes would be tantamount to greenlighting more crimes.

Tickling the Wrong Piano Keys

The commercial trade of new ivory was banned in 1989 through amendments to the global Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). A subsequent rebound in Zimbabwe’s elephant population heralded a stunning conservation success: the country’s 100,000-strong herd is growing 5% to 8% every year.

But that victory has created a cohabitation problem. Sixty people have been killed by elephants in Zimbabwe so far this year. The animals devour and destroy field crops and, in some cases, have even moved into homesteads, forcing poor people in rural areas to relocate. That’s why Zimbabwe is asking to sell its accumulated contraband:

  • The government says it’s lost almost all tourist revenue due to the pandemic, and needs the $600 million to manage the growing elephant population and keep fighting poachers. There’s precedent: in 1997 and 2008, special exemptions were granted to African countries to sell their ivory stocks to Japan and China.
  • The African Elephant Coalition, a group of 32 countries with fewer elephants than Zimbabwe, is opposed to the idea, as are conservation groups. They claim previous exemptions led to more poaching, stoking the $20 billion illegal wildlife trade, one of the world’s most lucrative illicit markets, per the United Nations Environment Programme.

Zimbabwe’s three-day conference is hosting 16 African countries, Japan, and China. Officials hope for enough momentum to secure formal approval from the international community.

Healthy Appetite: Adult elephants consume up to 600 pounds of vegetation daily. Try growing a vegetable garden and having an eater like that for a neighbor.

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