At least seven United States citizens were likely to lose their properties under the government’s land reform programme according to a cable released by Wikileaks.
The properties, some of them conservancies, were valued at US$200 000 to US$2 million.
The embassy in Harare listed the American and their properties as:
- Claimant A: William Holmes Taylor IV and two sons, all American citizens, with property owned in trust by Emblehope Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a Zimbabwean entity. Taylor and his two sons are the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
- Claimant B: Edward Galante, an American citizen, with the property owned by Machera Farming Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a Zimbabwean entity. Galante and his two AmCit children are the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
- Claimant C: Sam and Janet Chambliss, both American citizens. The property is owned by Twin Springs Conservancy (Pvt.) Ltd. with Sam and Janet Chambliss as the sole shareholders. No PAW signed.
- Claimant D: Debbie Rabinovitch and minor children Diane and Desmond Rabinovitch, all American citizens. The property is owned by a Zimbabwean trust of which Diane and Desmond are the beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
- Claimant E: Weldon and Kathy Schenck, both American citizens. The property is owned by a Zimbabwean trust due to interrelated obligations of conservancy landowners. No PAW signed.
- Claimant F: Terry and Joan Ryan, Husband is Zimbabwean and wife is American citizen. The property is owned under J.T. Management Consultancy (Pvt.) Ltd. No PAW signed.
- Claimant G: Lasting Impressions Wilderness Training Corporation, a registered California Non-Profit Religious organization, which wholly owns and controls The Lasting Impressions Trust, a Zimbabwean entity. Shelly Croudace, a director of The Lasting Impressions Trust is our contact and is an American citizen as well. No PAW signed.
Viewing cable 05HARARE847, 2005 ZIMBABWE REPORT ON INVESTMENT DISPUTES AND
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000847
AF/S FOR BNEULING
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR C. COURVELLE
USDOC FOR ROBERT TELCHIN
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FOR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON
US MISSION GENEVA FOR JOHN CHAMBERLIN
USDOL FOR ROBERT YOUNG
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: 2005 ZIMBABWE REPORT ON INVESTMENT DISPUTES AND
REF: SECSTATE 70014
¶1. (U) The U.S. Government is aware of seven expropriation
claims of U.S. persons that may be outstanding against the
Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ). All seven claims arise out of
the GOZ’s Land Resettlement Program, which commenced in 2000.
In the past year, the general pace of land reform has
considerably slowed. However, one additional American
property owner (Claimant F) was dispossessed of his land.
¶2. (U) Under its continuing Land Resettlement Program, the
GOZ has targeted almost all farm or wildlife property owned
by non-indigenous landowners for compulsory acquisition. The
GOZ has consistently maintained that no compensation will be
made for land itself, but that compensation will be made for
improvements to the property. However, to date, the GOZ has
not compensated any American claimants for either acquired
property or improvements to property. Disruptions posed by
land reform and the economy’s generally chaotic conditions
complicate meaningful valuation of the land or of any
improvements made. However, the values of the seven American
citizen claimant properties at issue range from USD 200,000
to more than USD 2,000,000.
¶3. (U) Despite various GOZ statements to the contrary, there
has been no progress either on the ground or in the courts to
resolve ownership, possession, and compensation issues for
the American-owned properties. Because of the current
judicial and political chaos, it is difficult to state
precisely when any of the seven landowners was legally
dispossessed. Therefore, the dates of expropriation offered
below are approximations only. Many of them continue to press
claims and challenges to GOZ acquisition of their properties
through Zimbabwe’s courts. However, even in instances where
Zimbabwean courts issue favorable rulings to such challenges,
the police and District Land Administrators usually refuse to
enforce the rulings.
¶4. (U) Post continuously tracks the situation of all seven
properties, all of which have received either Preliminary or
Final Notices of Acquisition from the GOZ. Most of the
American citizens affected have not asked the Embassy to
intervene beyond raising the issue of compensation with
appropriate GOZ officials in our normal course of meetings
and through diplomatic notes.
¶5. (U) a. Claimant A
c. Claimant A reported that his property had been invaded by
approximately eight war veterans, and that a prosperous and
well-connected Zimbabwean was grazing his cattle on the
property. Approximately 60 sables had been released from a
grazing pen and had subsequently disappeared — either
escaped from the property or poached. Although contact has
not recently been made with Claimant A, there has been no
report that the occupiers or the livestock have been moved
off of the property.
Claimant A continues to be denied access to his property
despite a favorable ruling through the Zimbabwe High Court.
The farmhands still remaining on the property reported
widespread looting of the premises.
¶6. (U) (Claimant B from last year’s report passed away
in 2004 and there are no surviving American citizen claimants
to the land; accordingly, we removed this claim from the
¶7. (U) a. Claimant B
c. Claimant B has an 85-hectare flower-exporting farm that
has been listed for compulsory acquisition under an initial
notice of acquisition (Section 5 notice). Claimant B is
awaiting a court ruling on the GOZ,s claim to his property.
In 2004, the Mashonaland East Governor signed a
&delisting8 form but the Local Government and Land
Ministries refused to assent. Claimant B then attempted to
sell his property to a nephew of the Chief Justice of
Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court, but the sale fell through as the
nephew reneged on payment. Claimant B is off the farm, and
the head of GOZ armed forces General Constantine Chiwanga
currently farms the land. According to Claimant B, there has
been no significant development in his case during the past
¶8. (U) a. Claimant C
c. Claimant C, received a final notice of acquisition
(Section 8 notice) in January, 2003 Claimant C purchased
the 7,618-hectare property in 1985 with Zimbabwe Investment
Center (ZIC) certificates to run a hunting and photographic
safari business. Although still on the land, Claimant C has
subsequently stopped his safari business as he claims
invaders have poached all of the game. Claimant C is
protesting the acquisition through Zimbabwe’s courts.
After receiving permanent residency in South Africa, Claimant
C has been laying the groundwork to emigrate but has been
unable to secure the proper documentation to move personal
belongings out of Zimbabwe.
¶9. (U) a. Claimant D
c. Claimant D’s rural wildlife-based property, which was
transferred from a Zimbabwean spouse to a trust benefiting
the couple’s two American children, is located in the
district of Hwange. Claimant D used the 420-hectare property
primarily for hunting and photographic safari purposes. The
Government has allocated the property to a Zimbabwean settler
who has done nothing with the land. Claimant D left the
farm on October 1, 2002, and the settler kicked off all
Claimant D’s employees by March 2004. Since that time, there
has been no substantial change in the situation on the
ground. Claimant D has asked the Embassy not to pursue this
case through official channels.
¶10. (U) (Last year’s report’s Claimant E has made no
contact with the Embassy for more than two years and we are
unaware of her whereabouts; accordingly, we recommend taking
this claim out of the expropriation report.)
¶11. (U) a. Claimant E
c. Claimant E has received a Section 5 notice but is still
in possession of the property in the Bikita District in
southern Zimbabwe. The property is dedicated to a
26-property wildlife conservancy containing both black and
white rhinos. The GOZ has announced plans to implement a
land tenure scheme whereby title of conservancies reverts to
the State, which then grants a 25-year lease to each property
owner. In return, the current owners would agree to
indigenize their businesses through shareholder equity. The
25-year leases would be automatically renewable, but not
transferable. Claimant E has said he would rather pull out
than pay rent for property he has already purchased, but
continues to negotiate with the GOZ along with other
Conservancy spokesmen. Ambassador Dell raised Claimant E,s
case with Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema, who
indicated that he would like to see Claimant E and the rest
of the conservancy join the Trans-Frontier Conservation Area
(a park linking tracts in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South
Africa). Charge, d’Affaires Schultz also met with Claimant
E at the Embassy.
¶12. a. Claimant F
c. Claimant F owns a 996-hectare farm in his American wife,s
name after Claimant F,s son ran the farm into bankruptcy.
Claimant F does not have a Zimbabwe Investment Certificate.
Claimant F was able to move much of his irrigation and farm
equipment off the property prior to losing control of the
farm but lost 170 head of cattle. Settlers first arrived on
the farm in 2000 but Claimant F maintained good relations
with them and local police, and he continued to have access
to the farm until 2004. From May to July 2004, Claimant F
received Section 5 and Section 8 notices of acquisition and
asked the Embassy to write a diplomatic note protesting the
intended acquisition. The Embassy did so and received a pro
forma response. Shortly thereafter, Claimant F was no longer
afforded access to the farm and effectively dispossessed of
the land. There have been no further developments on the
ground and Claimant F decided not to use the courts as the
GOZ is not enforcing judgments adverse to its own interests.
¶13. (U) a. Claimant G
c. Registered in 1997, Claimant G is a subsidiary trust of a
California-registered Non-Profit Religious Organization that
planned to establish an environmental and life skills
teaching center operating near Kadoma. Claimant G purchased
the 160-hectare parcel in 1999 but has been unable to effect
a proper transfer of title. Nonetheless, in addition to
having exclusive use of the land since 1999, Claimant G has
the Agreement of Sale as proof of purchase. In November
2004, Claimant G received a Section 5 initial notice of
acquisition, to which it has responded in court as well as by
correspondence to various Zimbabwean government entities.
Claimant G recently received a Section 8 notice of immediate
acquisition, which it is also contesting in the courts.
¶14. (SBU) Please find below the identities of the claimants
listed above as per Ref A, paragraphs 18 and 19:
Claimant A: William Holmes Taylor IV and two sons, all
American citizens, with property owned in trust by Emblehope
Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a Zimbabwean entity. Taylor and his
two sons are the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
Claimant B: Edward Galante, an American citizen, with the
property owned by Machera Farming Enterprises (Pvt.) Ltd., a
Zimbabwean entity. Galante and his two AmCit children are
the primary beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
Claimant C: Sam and Janet Chambliss, both American citizens.
The property is owned by Twin Springs Conservancy (Pvt.) Ltd.
with Sam and Janet Chambliss as the sole shareholders. No
Claimant D: Debbie Rabinovitch and minor children Diane and
Desmond Rabinovitch, all American citizens. The property is
owned by a Zimbabwean trust of which Diane and Desmond are
the beneficiaries. No PAW signed.
Claimant E: Weldon and Kathy Schenck, both American citizens.
The property is owned by a Zimbabwean trust due to
interrelated obligations of conservancy landowners. No PAW
Claimant F: Terry and Joan Ryan, Husband is Zimbabwean and
wife is American citizen. The property is owned under J.T.
Management Consultancy (Pvt.) Ltd. No PAW signed.
Claimant G: Lasting Impressions Wilderness Training
Corporation, a registered California Non-Profit Religious
organization, which wholly owns and controls The Lasting
Impressions Trust, a Zimbabwean entity. Shelly Croudace, a
director of The Lasting Impressions Trust is our contact and
is an American citizen as well. No PAW signed.