Firm challenges Land Commission

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A LOCAL firm, TBIC Investments (Private) Limited (TBIC Investments), has petitioned the Land Commission of Zimbabwe challenging an alleged decision to allocate its confiscated land to another person, without giving the company a right to argue its case.

In a letter dated June 22, 2020, addressed to Land Commission chairperson Justice Tendai Uchena, TBIC Investments, said it used to own the Remaining Extent of Stuhm Farm in Mashonaland East, before the government acquired it under the Land Reform Programme.

However, according to TBIC, the commission reportedly recommended to Lands minister Perrance Shiri to allocate it to one Oniyas Gumbo, who had claimed to be the rightful owner of the property.

“The Commission’s letter to the minister was unlawful, because in terms of the principles of justice …, it is a legal requirement that the Commission should have given us our right to respond to such allegations before it made a decision to recommend to the minister of Lands. In other words, the Commission should have heard both sides before it made a decision to make such recommendation,” the company said.

The company further said that there were high chances that the Commission’s letter could mislead the Lands minister into making an erroneous decision by giving the property to the wrong person.

“The conduct of the Land Commission in this regard violated our constitutional rights, including our right to administrative justice as a Zimbabwean citizen.

“If our constitutional rights as a Zimbabwean citizen can be violated by a government institution as stated above, it makes it difficult for Zimbabwe to attract foreign investors.

“It gives the perception that there is no rule of law in the country or that there is State capture or that the laws of the country can be applied selectively.

“It is this kind of unfairness which can make the country fail to progress,” the firm said.
The company also asked the Land Commission’s chairperson to confirm and withdraw the letter to the minister and be given an opportunity to present its side of the story.

The letter was also copied to Shiri, among other government officials.
The Land Commission chairperson has not yet responded to the letter.

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