By Alois Vinga
GOLD mining giant, Metallon Corporation has thrown down the gauntlet, filing a US$132 million lawsuit against the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR) over unremitted foreign currency earnings.
The company says the omission has affected the smooth flow of business at its plants and the loss of 2 000 jobs.
A statement signed by the company’s head of communications, Klara Kaczmarek revealed that the mining giant has taken off its gloves and resorted to direct confrontation with government over the matter.
“We have started legal proceedings against the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, particularly against the Governor, John Mangudya, and demanding specific performance.
“We are doing this because we feel the treatment we have received from the concerned authorities has been driven by corruption and a sense of impunity, for which we believe there is no end in sight,” said the statement.
Metallon said that between 2016 and 2019, it lost US$82m and because of that, they were now claiming US$132m for the lack of profit and procurement, including interest.
One of the key issues raised by the company in its notice to the central bank and Fidelity is that it was being paid in the much resented RTGS dollars by the central bank.
This comes after the company has issued its invoices in United States dollars under the Foreign Currency Retention Scheme which allows miners to retain 55 percent of their earned foreign currency.
The company said that the disparity in the purchasing power resulted in the corporation being unable to procure machinery, equipment and operational goods at competitive prices and this has resulted in massive job cuts.
“More than 2 000 employees have lost their jobs and people who suffer the most are employees who no longer have jobs.
“First, they were victims of hyper-inflation under the previous regime and now they have lost their livelihoods. We had no other recourse but to take the decisive action,” said the company in its statement.
Metallon is also suing the Mines Ministry for the unlawful withholding of a mining lease that was approved by the Zimbabwean Mining Affairs Board in January 2019.
The development comes after Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube Wednesday delivered a state of the economy address announcing a second rebasing of the economy claiming that it grew higher than expected in 2018.
Most companies in the troubled Southern African country are battling to remain operational due to the current economic crisis.