A DISGRUNTLED group of 12 former Zimbabwean white commercial farmers on Friday approached the European Court in Belgium to seize US$45 million worth of diamonds from Zimbabwe that were on auction.
This stems from disputes for alleged breach of a Bilateral Investment Treaty when their farms were compulsorily acquired for redistribution under the Fast-Track Land Reform Programme.
The former Zimbabwe white farmers have been waging a battle to get Government to pay them US$54 million awarded in 2009 by the United States-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment following the violent expropriation of their farms by President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.
The white Dutch farmers asked the European Court to seize the diamonds soon after an order allowing Amari Platinum to seize them over a Zimbabwe Government debt had been reversed.
A Zimbabwean legal team argue that the mining companies selling the diamonds were not liable for Government’s debt.
“A group of white farmers have brought an application before the courts with an intention to attach diamonds that we had successfully won back from Amari, a lawyer representing Zimbabwe said.
“The group states that they were illegally evicted from their farms by authority of the then Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa. In their papers the white farmers are suing the Zimbabwe Government for the cost of lost business.”
The lawyer said the twist could result in a protracted legal battle over the roughly 500 000 carats of diamonds.