Mnangagwa sued over ‘controversial’ Mutapa Investment Fund

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By Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has been taken to court following the promulgation of the Mutapa Investment Fund which critics have called a ploy to loot state resources.

Mnangagwa was sued by a Harare lawyer, Fredrick Nyamande who also cited the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Mutapa Investment Fund as respondents.

The Attorney General and Justice Minister are also respondents in the urgent chamber application filed at the High Court recently.

Mutapa Investment Fund is an entity that was created by the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Investment Laws Amendment) Regulations also known as Statutory Ins 156 of 2023.

It is an amendment to the  Sovereign Wealth Fund Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 22:20).

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Mutapa Investment Fund is a pool of resources, that is public equities, commodity royalties and allocations from the government that will be invested in the future.

Nyamande complained that the Statutory Instrument gives Mnangagwa unfettered powers to appoint the chief executive officer and all eight members of the Mutapa Investment Fund board.

He asked for an urgent hearing stating in his founding affidavit that the matter was of national interest.

“The Regulations which are made in terms of this legislation always affect the public in Zimbabwe because they allow the First Respondent (Mnangagwa) to rule by decree and allow him to enact his own “Enabling Act In the context of this matter the First Respondent has enacted the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Investment Laws Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (Statutory Instrument 156 of 2023) which create the Third Respondent (Mutapa Investment Fund) an entity lacking in accountability but holding most of the valuable national commercial assets and interests,” he said.

Among other things, Nyamande also complained that there is a clear violation of the procurement legislation of the nation which is even legislated for in the supreme law of the land.

“I respectfully submit that section 2(2) of the Act is unconstitutional in the following respects …it delegates to the President the primary law-making powers of Parliament to enact, amend or repeal principal legislation, that is, Acts of Parliament-other than matters relating to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the Constitution.

“This is done through Regulations envisaged in section 2(1) of the Act which are made with the powers provided by section 2(2) of the Act – meaning that they can provide for any matter which can competently be provided for in an Act of Parliament – that is, new Act of Parliament, amendment to an Act of Parliament and repeal of an Act of Parliament.

“This is a contravention of, and it is inconsistent with, section 134(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

He added, “It delegates to the President the power and competency to provide for any matter which can lawfully be provided for in an Act of Parliament such that the President can, and indeed has in the past, enact Regulations (statutory instruments) which infringe upon and/or limit the rights and freedoms set-out in the Declaration of Rights under Part 2 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The history of the Fund dates back to 2014 and has clear objectives such as investing for future generations and supporting the country’s development goals among other things.

Mnangagwa recently controversially promulgated the SI which changed the name to the Mutapa Investment Fund sparking a wide uproar.

The urgent application is yet to be set down for hearing.