Was the MMLP invoice to DMH attorneys tainted by fraud?
The MMLP invoice affair is a complex legal and ethical matter that has raised serious questions about the rule of law, the constitutionality of certain laws, and the extra-territorial application of foreign law.
At the heart of the matter is an invoice issued by MMLP, a minority shareholder in TAP Zambia, to DMH Attorneys, a Zimbabwean law firm, for purported legal services rendered in relation to the assertion of rights and claims acquired in terms of Zimbabwean law. This law, the Reconstruction Act, is alleged to be in violation of public policy and international law.
Despite the Supreme Court of Zambia declaring the Reconstruction Act invalid ab initio in June 2008, MMLP has refused to comply with the court’s judgment and has continued to insist that the TAP directors appointed by MMLP are the rightful directors of the company.
The MMLP invoice affair raises a number of important legal, ethical, criminal, constitutional, and public policy issues:
- The legality of the MMLP invoice is in question, given that it is based on a Zimbabwean law that has been declared invalid by the Supreme Court of Zambia.
- The question of whether MMLP has standing to sue TAP on behalf of its minority shareholders is also a matter of legal debate.
- The conduct of MMLP in refusing to comply with the Supreme Court judgment and in continuing to insist that its appointees are the rightful directors of TAP has been widely criticized as unethical.
- Some have also argued that the MMLP invoice affair is a conflict of interest, as MMLP is both a minority shareholder in TAP and the client of the Zimbabwean law firm that issued the invoice.
- There is a possibility that criminal charges may be brought against MMLP and its directors for contempt of court and other offenses.
- The MMLP invoice affair raises serious questions about the constitutionality of the Reconstruction Act, which was declared invalid by the Supreme Court of Zambia.
- The case also raises questions about the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Zambia.
Public policy issues
- The MMLP invoice affair raises important questions about the public policy implications of applying foreign laws in Zambia, especially when those laws are in violation of international law.
Extra-territorial application of law
- The case also raises questions about the extra-territorial application of foreign law. The Reconstruction Act is a Zimbabwean law, but it has been applied to a Zambian company, TAP. This raises the question of whether Zimbabwean law has any jurisdiction in Zambia.
Conflict of laws
- The MMLP invoice affair also raises a conflict of law issue. The Reconstruction Act is a Zimbabwean law, but the TAP directors who were removed by MMLP were appointed under Zambian law. This raises the question of which law should apply in this case.
The MMLP invoice affair is a complex and multifaceted case that has raised important legal, ethical, criminal, constitutional, public policy, and conflict of law issues.
The JUROL LUSAKA INSTITUTE (JLI) in partnership with the JUROL LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (JLI) has taken the initiative to ensure that MMLP is accountable for its conduct in relation to the assertion of rights and claims acquired pursuant to the Reconstruction Act whose driving force and mind was President Mnangagwa, a law that offends public policy and international law to make it law at all.
Notwithstanding the fact that Zimbabwean laws have no extra-territorial application, Kajimanja J., the Presiding Judge, granted a judgment in favor of Plaintiffs who acquired the power and authority to control SMM Holdings Private Limited, a Zimbabwean registered company, pursuant to a repugnant law that was specifically introduced via a Presidential decree to expropriate Mutumwa Mawere, a South African naturalized citizen of Zimbabwean descent.
TAP, a company whose ultimate beneficial shareholding is held by Mawere, although domiciled in Zimbabwe, could not escape the wrath of Mnangagwa, whose fury knows no borders or sovereignty, was targeted, and courtesy of Mnangagwa’s former classmate, His Lordship Mr. Justice Kajimanga, who is now a Supreme Court judge of Zambia, a judgment was sought and granted in favor of what the Supreme Court of Zambia ruled was a nullity after legal fees involved in the fraudulent scheme had been paid by TAP on the instruction of Gwaradzimba, who was appointed as Administrator of SMM, by Mnangagwa’s close buddy, Mr. P. Chinamasa, the former Zimbabwean Justice Minister.
Ms. Caroline Du Plessis, a member of JUROL and the Project Manager of the JLI-AI ACCELERATOR PILOT PROJECT said: “The case has also raised important questions about the country’s commitment to the rule of law and its constitutional principles.”