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    Friday, 11 October 2019

    Comm opposes Smelly’s High Court application




    •    Land baron unlikely to give evidence

    PAMENUS TUSO
    BULAWAYO CORRESPONDENT

    BULAWAYO – Gweru-based land developer, Smelly Dube has approached the High Court in Bulawayo for an order to bar a State-appointed Land Commission from compelling her to appear and give evidence on her land properties in the Midlands Province.
    Dube is the biggest private land developer in Midlands with large tracts of land in Gweru, Shurugwi, Zvishavane and Bulawayo whose acquisition and sale the Government says was illegal because it’s State land.
    Dube who is the managing director of River Valley Properties has on two different occasions failed to appear before the Justice Tendai Uchena led Commission of Inquiry into the sale of urban State land.
    This is after she received subpoenas from the Commission.
    Her application at the High Court means that it is no longer likely that Dube will give evidence to the Commission as the inquiry’s life comes to an end on October 31, 2019.
    In her application of July 17, 2019 filed with the High Court in Bulawayo, Dube argues that she cannot appear before the Commission because as one of the three directors of River Valley, she was not dully appointed to represent the company in the hearing.
    Dube who is being represented by Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys says her appearance will therefore be a violation of Section 9 of the Companies Act to the extent that she may not represent the company.
    The Commission has a mandate to investigate rampant illegal sale of State land in and around urban areas since 2005
    Her application for the review is under case number 1686/19.
    The Commission represented by the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s office has however, opposed Dube’s application and said that it was wrong to say that she was summoned. Instead the Commission argues that it subpoenaed River Valley’s three directors to appear before it and sit as a panel of witnesses and give evidence.
    The Commission said the panel of witnesses cannot be complete without one of the three directors, Dube.
    “Take note that applicant herein intends to apply to this court for review and setting aside of the order of the commission of Inquiry into the sale of State Land in and around urban areas in Zimbabwe compelling applicant to avail one Smelly Dube, one of applicants three (3) directors to testify or give evidence or answer questions,” reads part of Dube’s application.
    The lawyer said that River Valley was represented by its two directors when Dube was initially summoned on June 18, 2019 but the Commission ordered for her presence. She was then supposed to appear before the Commission on June 27 but she fell ill,” said the lawyer.
     “The commission of Inquiry did not invite the applicant as averred. The commission individually subpoenaed River Valley’s three directors including Smelly Dube to appear before it and sit as a panel of witnesses to give evidence before the commission. Accordingly the panel cannot be complete without one of its members,” said the commission in its opposing papers.
    The commission said that Dube’s application was in violation of section 27 of the High Court Act.
    “It is respectfully submitted that the applicant’s application for review does not meet the standard set by section 27 of the High Court Act which prescribes the grounds upon which an application for review can be made. In this case the Commission has jurisdiction and the mandate to subpoena Smelly Dube. No interest in the case, bias, malice or corruption by the commission has been alleged,”
    “Further no proof of gross irregularity in subpoenaing Smelly Dube has been alleged in the applicant’s application. The Commission used its powers in terms of Section 11 of the commission of Inquiry Act (Chapter 10 .07)  to subpoena Smelly Dube as a witness in the inquiry into the sale of state land as prescribed by its terms of reference as  outlined,” further argued the commission.
    Justice Uchena was cited as the first respondent while the other commissioners were cited as other respondents.  
    #Masvingo Mirror#
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