Firm sues Agriculture minister for US$8,1m
BLUESTAR Investments (Pvt) Ltd (Bluestar), a company in the business of animal husbandry, has sued Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka for US$8,1 million which was lost when their farm was compulsorily acquired by the government.
In summons filed before the High Court, Bluestar is suing Masuka, and 53 people that are currently occupying the farm for losses incurred when their operations were disrupted.
The court heard that Bluestar was allocated Bonheim Farm in 2002 before the Lands ministry later compulsorily acquired it for rural resettlement.
When Bluestar approached the ministry to address the issue, they were advised that they would be given another farm of similar size in Mashonaland Central, but that did not materialise. Bluestar was into animal husbandry and would keep more than 1 000 herd of cattle at the farm, realising US$450 000 annually. The firm claimed to have suffered a loss of income of US$8,1 million for the past 18 years after the acquisition of the farm. The court heard that Bluestar gave notice to the Lands ministry of its intention to challenge the acquisition on basis that the land belonging to indigenous people could not be compulsorily acquired.
“The plaintiff now seeks for an order that the compulsory acquisition of Bonheim Farm in terms of the agrarian reform was unconstitutional and unlawful and should be set aside,” reads the summons.
“The plaintiff also seeks for an order that the first defendant (Masuka) pays the various sums expressed in US dollars or its equivalent in local currency being damages for loss of income.”