THE country’s sole gold buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR), a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe responsible for the purchasing, refining and exporting of gold, is under fire for buying “stolen gold” from illegal artisanal miners who have invaded Gaika Mine in Kwekwe.
Court documents seen by this publication show that FPR was ordered by the High Court not to buy any gold being mined by the mainly Zanu PF youths who invaded Gaika Mine from February 2018.
Duration Gold Investments, Gaika mine owners, approached the High Court seeking an interdict to stop FPR from purchasing “stolen gold”.
Court documents issued in March 2018 under case number HC 622/18 ordered FPR, which is cited as the fourth respondent, “not to accept any gold won return from Gaika Mine from any person other than an authorised representative of applicant, that fourth respondent be and is, hereby, ordered to pay to an authorised signatory or credit applicant’s bank.”
However, an investigation this week revealed that FPR agents were buying gold from the illegal miners in defiance of the court order.
“I have a certificate to buy gold and this is legal,” an FPR agent in Kwekwe said.
“FPR has agents in and around Kwekwe who buy gold. We do not smuggle gold, we take it to Fidelity.”
Former Mbizo legislator Vongaishe Mupereri (Zanu PF), who is said to be the ring leader of the invaders, was also ordered by High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi to pay all the costs which were met by Duration Gold Investments.
“That first respondent (Mupereri) be and is, hereby, ordered to pay the costs of suit of this application on the attorney and client scale,” part of the court order read.
The court also ordered FPR not to be involved in any dealings with illegal miners from Gaika, since it would be a violation of the mine owner’s rights.
“That fourth respondent be and is, hereby, ordered not to deal with anyone other than an authorised representative of applicant in respect of any gold won from Gaika mine,” the court order read.
Illegal miners on the ground confirmed to this publication that they sold their gold to FPR agents in Kwekwe.
FPR spokesperson Chelesani Moyo directed all questions to Mehluleli Dube, who is the head of gold operations at FPR.
Dube told NewsDay that: “I am not aware of any court order, but if that is the case, then it will be easier for the complainant to track how much gold they would have lost. My logic is, if it is not bought by Fidelity, then it will be taken to the black market.”