High Court tosses company’s bid to reverse farm seizure by Govt

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By Erica Jecha

THE High Court has dismissed an application by a local company, David Lewis Trust (Pvt) Ltd, which was trying to regain possession of farm land taken by government through the Land Acquisition Act in 2002.

According to court papers, the farm measures 2,780 hectares.

The company had sued Lands Minister Anxious Masuka, the Registrar of Deeds, Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe and Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga.

In its court application, David Lewis claimed sub-division A of Lendy Estate Land falls under the municipality of Marondera.

It also argued that, given the circumstances, the State had no right to acquire the whole farm because it was not agricultural land.

The company also prayed that, in the event the court found that government properly acquired the land, it should order that the portion belonging to the council be split from the State land.

Minister Masuka challenged the application, arguing that the court had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the application as it was a constitutional matter.

He reiterated that there was a similar Supreme Court case in 2010 which set a precedent and pronounced that any acquisition made by the Minister in terms of Section 16 of the Constitution could not be challenged in a court of law.

High Court judge, Justice David Mangota, ruled in favour of government, stating that the David Lewis had lied under oath.

“The farm which the government acquired is not one of the five farms whose boundaries were, in part, or in whole, incorporated into the municipality of Marondera. It is a stand-alone farm which used to belong to the applicant,” said the judge.

“The applicant was being economical with the truth when it alleged that a portion of the farm was acquired into the municipality of Marondera. The applicant’s lies become crystal clear on a close analysis of the case.

“Its unwholesome conduct cannot be condoned, let alone be accepted. It (David Lewis) invited me to walk with it along a garden path which leads nowhere. Its efforts remain unfortunate and unrewarded.”