Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Former Minister Matongo facing jail in farm case

Former Minister Matongo facing jail in farm case

By Tererai Karimakwenda
12 November, 2010

The former Deputy Minister of Information, Bright Matonga, is facing
imprisonment in a court case in which he is accused of refusing to return
farming equipment that he seized from a white commercial farmer in Chegutu.
A warrant of arrest was issued by a Chegutu magistrate in August, but
according to the farmer, Thomas Beattie, the messenger of court has not
executed the order.

Matonga, who is currently the MP for Mhondoro-Ngezi, claims the case was
dismissed a long time ago. He is quoted as saying: “I was at COPAC when the
matter went to court and I do not know how I was tried and decisions made in
my absence. You can speak to my lawyer and he will confirm to you that this
case was solved.”

Matonga’s lawyer, Walter Bherebhende, reportedly claims that he appealed
against the judgment at the magistrates’ court and the case is now being
considered at the High Court.

SW Radio Africa spoke to Beattie’s son, Douglas, who was also illegally
removed from the same Chegutu Estate, and he confirmed that Matonga has
still not been arrested. He said the deputy sheriff, Biggie Kanyangarara,
could not be reached to explain why.

Douglas Beattie explained that Minister Matonga is one of several top
officials who illegally took over their family’s estate without. The list of
beneficiaries included Matonga’s brother Sam and Obert Masiyiwa, who is
known to be a top official at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The estate was
carved up into at least 26 smaller plots.

According to Douglas, Matonga used the magistrate’s court to undervalue the
equipment that he had taken, which the owners valued at over $30 000. The
Beattie family won the case to get it back and Matonga immediately appealed
that decision, but lost. This led to a long-running court case that led to
the magistrate issuing the warrant.

But until the messenger of court decides to follow the rule of law and
executes the order, Matonga and his cronies will continue to occupy Beattie’s
Chigwell Estates and profit from the large citrus fruit crop grown there and
exported to the Middle East, Europe and Russia.


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