The High Court has barred deputy Public Service Minister Abednico Ncube from kicking out his mining partner saying though their partnership had not yet been formalised in writing it was still valid.
Ncube, who owned mining claims at Ceasar East 2 and 3 in Gwanda, sought a partner who could invest “time, money and expertise” into the operation last year and entered into a “partnership arrangement of some sort” with Gurus Mining Corporation.
The claims, which were previously registered in the name of Ncube, were re-registered by the Mining Commissioner in the name of Abednico Ncube and Gurus Syndicate.
Gurus Mining Corporation owned another mine Freda Mine which processed gold ore for other mines in Gwanda. It built five houses for workers at Ceasar 2 and 3 and hired security guards to clear gold panners.
It began operations and on November 11, it sold gold worth $752.3 million to the central bank. The company deposited $346 million into Abednico Ncube and Gurus Syndicate’s account with Agribank in Gwanda.
It called a board meeting on November 19 to brief its directors on the arrangement with Ncube and to formalise the agreement in writing but Ncube did not pitch up for the meeting. Instead, he wrote the company a letter stating that Gurus Mining Corporation had ceased to be a partner with effect from that date.
The letter also claimed that Gurus’ business partner named Lawrence Botha had taken seven 7-tonnes trucks of ore to Freda Mine in October but that gold had never been delivered to the central bank. He warned the company that if he did not receive a satisfactory explanation within seven days, he would report the matter to the police.
“Our partnership is invalid. To me this is a blessing as this has come to light before starting our operations,” Ncube wrote. “Our laws require every miner to deposit all gold to the central bank. But that was not the case with the gold that was taken to Freda by your partner Lawrence. How then do I continue working with you.”
Ncube was taken to court by Gurus managing director Ignatius Manners Gonah. Justice Nicholas Ndou said Ncube could not back out of the partnership because even though the two had not formally signed an agreement, they had a binding agreement because the claims were now registered in the name of Abednico Ncube and Gurus Syndicate.
He said Ncube could not therefore continue operations without accounting to Gurus Mining Corporation.