GWERU-The Provincial Mining Director (PMD) for Midlands Province Tariro Ndlovu (53), who is accused of criminal abuse of office will now proceed by way of summons after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) set down recommended further investigations on the matter.
Ndlovu was arrested this week and charged with criminal abuse of duty as defined in Section 174(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).
He did not appear before the Magistrate but was released on summons.
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure confirmed the development.
“Accused appeared at Gweru Magistrate Court on 9 September 2022 on initial remand. NPA recommended that matter proceed by way of summons upon review of accused person’s defence, that when he wrote the letter giving mining rights to Ronald Mugangavari disregarding an extant court order HC2031/15 restoring mining rights to K and G Mining Syndicate was arrived at after seeking legal counsel from Ministry of Mines & Mineral Development Legal Department,” he said.
He added that the “outstanding investigations is to record a statement from the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as the accused’s principal and Ministry’s Legal Department”.
Ndhlovu’s legal Counsel Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa legal practice said “the Set Down Prosecutors raised some issues pertaining to further investigations. So ZACC has to carry further investigations on the matter. We are to be summoned once the investigations are done and we shall then be advised as to whether or not the PMD has a case to answer”.
It is the State case that on 11 January 2022, Ndlovu in his capacity as the Provincial Mining Director Midlands allegedly wrote and issued a letter authorizing Mugangavari of Midway 21 Mine, Mberengwa, to resume mining operations fully aware that the High Court gave mining rights to K & G Mining Syndicate. And was also aware that the High Court Order HC 2031/15 was affirmed by the same High Court under case number HC228/18 as well as the Supreme Court under case number SCB35/20, since his office was also cited as a respondent in all the cases.
The State argued that the PMD acted contrary to and inconsistent with his duties as a public officer by unlawfully and intentionally favouring Mugangavari by awarding mining rights to him against the Court orders and prejudiced K and G Mining Syndicate.
According to the charge sheet from ZACC, On 19 October 2006, Hebert Kwenzani registered Midway 21 Mine under registration number 9871 located in Clifton Farm Mberengwa and on 16 July 2007, Kwenzani together with Samson Gondwe formed a mining syndicate called K and G Mining Syndicate, and Midway 21 Mine was subsequently transferred to the syndicate under TR number 9070 and started mining operations as a syndicate.
Sometime in 2012, Mugangavari claimed that the same mine belonged to him registered in 2012 under registration number 12598. As a result a mining dispute ensued and was registered with the then Mining Commissioner based in Masvingo.
The Provincial Mining Commissioner for Masvingo Charles Phiri issued a determination on the dispute on the 11th of April 2012 which gave mining rights to K and G Mining Syndicate by virtue of being the first to peg the area in line with section 177(3) of the Mines and Minerals Act [Chapter 21:05].
The ZACC charge sheet further stated that on 1st of October 2014, the Provincial Mining Director Midlands Province named as Paskwavaviri confirmed the determination that was issued by the Provincial Mining Commissioner Masvingo.
Mugangavari was aggrieved by the determination, appealed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development against the decision of the Provincial Mining Director Midlands.
On the 17th of July 2015 the then Provincial Mining Director Midlands Province named as Mr K Mlangeni acting on behalf of the Permanent Secretary for Mines and Mining Development gave a determination which nullified the decision that was earlier issued by the Provincial Mining Director on 01 October 2014.
This didn’t go down well with K and G Mining Syndicate who then appealed to the High Court against the Ministry’s decision under HC2031/15 on the 1st of February 2017, where it was ordered that, “the determination by the 3rd respondent (Ministry of Mines and Mining Development) dated 17th July 2015 cancelling Midway 21 Mining registration certificate held by applicant be and is hereby set aside”.