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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

This should be of interest to everyone

AgricAfrica Ltd
NEWSLETTER NO.32

AA & THE DUTCH FARMERS ASSOCIATION (DFA) AT THE INTERNATIONAL COURT FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES (ICSID) GROUP 1 - Bernardus Henricus Funnekotter and others v. Republic of Zimbabwe - (ICSID Case No - ARB/05/6) visit - www.worldbank.org/ICSID

November 01, 2006 - The Tribunal was constituted.
October 31, 2007 - The Tribunal holds a hearing on the merits
February 25, 2009 - The Tribunal declares the proceeding closed
April 22, 2009 AWARD RENDERED.
July 21, 2009 LAST DATE FOR PAYMENT OF THE AWARD BY GOZ.
July 22, 2009 NO PAYMENT RECEIVED AND
August 01, 2009 - REMEDIAL ACTION BY DSIA NOW UNDERWAY

Editors Comment: Readers will remember that at the Tribunal hearing during October 2007 the GOZ accepted and acknowledged that they are required to pay compensation to the 10 Dutch claimants for having evicted them from their farms. Unfortunately GOZ has NOT kept to its word in this regard and no payment of the AWARD has been received on the due date by the DSIA Lawyers in Washington. Therefore DSIA have taken remedial action, which for the time being must remain subjudice.

The DFA has in the meantime changed its name to The Dutch Small Investors Association (DSIA), Ben Funnekotter has stood down as chairman, which position is now taken over by Lion Benjamins with Ben retaining the post as Treasurer.

Compensation and Restitution for AgricAfrica Ltds Mandate holders and others

In the first instance, I must take this opportunity of thanking AAs shareholders for their continuing support to me as their Chairman as was demonstrated at the recent shareholders meeting in Lusaka. And also my special thanks to our + 1500 mandate holders, for their continued support and thus giving AA the all important Critical Mass the company needed to assist the DSIA at ICSID G1 so as to achieve an AWARD situation. The critical mass will also be needed again for ICSID G2 which is I am pleased to say is coming together and should be well underway early in the New Year.

I have received emails from many of you over the last six years and whilst I have always tried to answer them, I know of late that I have been very remiss in not responding to you all and I hope you will accept my apologies. Therefore it is important that I address the following remarks to you all as they are also in response to your queries expressed in many of your recent mails.

I think perhaps Derek Jameson says it all, in his email to me on 16th December 2009 when he says:

"Dear Bob - Just a short note to ask you if you think there is any possibility, however small, of the farmers being paid out for their improvements, as was stated way, way back? As far as I am concerned, I am not holding out any hope at all, the way things are going. However, I would like to hear your opinion. - Many thanks - Derek"

Thus, I will try and answer your queries as I personally see the situation in as few words as possible!

ALL SINGING FROM THE SAME HYMN SHEET - The first thing to remember and it is worth repeating, is that if you the Farmers are to be successful as Claimants for Compensation and or Restitution, then the most important action you have to take is for you ALL to come together and be seen to be acting through one organisation,

This is in fact what the Compensation Coalition (CC) set out to do in 2004 under the leadership of John Laurie. In the early days, some people seemed to think that there were too many groups trying to represent the Dispossessed Farmers. However, what may not have been clear was that each group had a specific task/s to deal with and in most cases, did not step onto each others toes!

For instance:

1. The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) was the historic representative of all commercial farmers and is still seen as such by the International Community and the Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ). Regardless of differences over recent years the CFU will be the farmers main voice in any negotiations. If you can as dispossessed or otherwise, AA and I encourage you to support the CFU, by paying what ever subs are required and therefore being a member.

2. Agric Africa Ltd (AA) is a Commercial Organisation (which is registered in Mauritius with specific shareholders) - The company raised funds that were used principally for legal purposes and is a facilitator that has received over 1500 written and signed mandates from Dispossessed Comercial Farmers of all nationalities including Zimbabweans. These mandates gave AA the Critical Mass that it needed and still needs when talking too and dealing with the World Bank and International Community on behalf of all dispossed commercial farmers.

3. AA and ICSID G1 Tribunal AA has over the last eight years continuously perused INTERNATIONAL COURT CASES on behalf of its Mandate Holders at its own expense. The first effort being to obtain the LEGAL OPINION from Lord Lester QC in London. In the light of the opinion, AA has successfully focused its financial and other energies in assisting the 13 Dutch Nationals as Claimants from the DSIA against the GOZ. The ICSID G1 Tribunal is within the World Bank Forum and you should ALL note that The World Bank is the banker for the International Community.

4. AA and Payment of the AWARD - In the meantime AA is currently assisting the Legal Team and the DSIA in securing payment of the AWARD, bearing in mind that it is enforceable in 140 odd countries around the world.

5. AA and ICSID G2 The Company is presently coordinating and bringing together a second group of BIPA Claimants who are Nationals from Holland, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. We anticipate the plans for this project to come together early in the New Year and hopefully see positive developments by the end of 2010 or early in 2011.

6. The Valcon Data Base and ICSID G1 - This facility was successfully used by the professional Valuers at the ICSID G1 Tribunal in Paris and was largely instrumental in highlighting and achieving the values for the AWARD.

7. Valcon Data Base and ICSID G2 Valcon will be participating as the valuers at ICSID G2 as they are now fully recognised by the World Bank (WB), The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) as professional and competent valuers. Valcon are therefore fully geared to deal with the issues of Compensation and or Restitution for all + 4500 Commercial Farmers who have had their properties expropriated by GOZ.

8. ZAT and the lobbying of the UK Government - The Trust was formed as an independent body to lobby in the UK. It has established links with the UK government and other bodies and it is distinct from the various charitable bodies such as the Zimbabwe Farmers Trust. However and perhaps more importantly, ZAT has also established very good lines of communications with Senior Members of Parliament from both the present government and the opposition parties.

9. Government of Zimbabwe (GOZ) and the Diplomatic Corps in Zimbabwe - The lobbying of the GOZ, the Diplomatic Corps and others in Zimbabwe is handled by the CFU.

10. Von Abo cases SA I must congratulate Mr Von Abo for bringing the court cases in the South African Courts and we wait with baited breath to see if the South African Government will pay the Compensation due to him for the several farms expropriated by the GOZ.

11. SADC The GOZ has decided that the SADC tribunal was not legally constituted and therefore chooses to ignore its judgements, which are in favour of the farmers. However these judgements exist and besides, whilst being great precedent setters, have very high profiles on the African continent and are most useful in the lobbying of the Interventional Community. Quite what effect the recently signed, but still to be ratified Bilateral Investment Treaty between Zimbabwe and South Africa will have on these cases, remains to be seen and is already being raised following the Christmas eviction of a Rusape farmer.

12. THE FUTURE As I personally see the situation, it is that we must now wait for the next two major political events and these are:

a. A General Election in the UK and a Change of Government there. This could happen early in the New Year or at the very latest, in October 2010.

b. A proper General and Presidential Election to be held in Zimbabwe that must then precipitate the return to the rule of law etc to the country. This must happen as soon as possible after the General Election in the UK, if not before.

c. The Zimbabwe Elections will hopefully signal to the International Community and in particular the UK, European Union and the USA, to assist in starting the process of rehabilitating the economy of Zimbabwe, in particular Agriculture.

13. Land Audit - As soon as the above two elections are done and dusted to the satisfaction of everybody, then these events should be followed, by the completion and publishing of the Land Audit. Thereafter the establishment of the relevant Tribunal/s in Zimbabwe should and I reiterate in my opinion, become a reality for ALL dispossed Commercial Farmers as claimants.

14. COMPENSATION AND RESTITUTION DEAL When this deal is completed and ratified, then it will be decision time for you all as Claimants. I am of the opinion that there will be an element of Restitution and or, probably Compensation for your farm being the Land and improvements plus, and I would further suggest such Compensation will only be paid over a period of time by GOZ, but hopefully underwritten by the World Bank and or the International Monetary Fund. Therefore, I believe that it will be up to the CFU and its facilitators to ensure that they get the best deal for the dispossed farmers in this regard.

If my predictions are correct, then you will all begin realise how important it is that ALL claimants come together and that means;

A. Claimants must support the CFU and its associates. To contact the CFU, email Vice President Charles Taffs: ctaffs@cfuzim.org or phone him at the CFU HQ No: 263 (0) 4 309843.

B. You must all ensure that all your ducks are in a row i.e. title deeds, company ownership and registration thereof are in order and

C. And finally most important, Claimants must ensure that they have registered their farm/s with Valuation Consortium (Pvt) Ltd Suit 1 to 4 Lindsey House Samora Machel Ave Eastleigh P O Box 4272 Harare Zimbabwe Tel: +263 4 746654/55/48 Email: valuationconsortium@gmail.com

I hope that the above gives you all some idea as to how I see the Compensation and Restitution Stakes will come together and will probably be run off over some fairly difficult hurdles during the next two years.

I know that some of you have already seen the ZimEye article that was circulerised recently headed Under David Cameron, UK will strike a deal with Mugabe - Bere. I very much hope that ALL those involved in the putting of Humpty Dumpty Together Again will take note of the last paragraph of what one Mafi said in response to the article and I have quoted it below!

Mafi on Fri, 18th Dec 2009 7:01 pm
This time deals will not be fixed in distant England but in the vicinities of the likes of Mzarabani, Tsholotsho, Mpamdawana, and Mrambinda.

Finally I have taken the liberty of copying and pasting two very relevant paragraphs from Moraig and Peter Hennings Christmas letter to their family and friends which follows below.

Peter and Moraig Henning December 2009

Recently there have been some very positive legal events which have raised our spirits immeasurably, confirming that compensation for the land seizures nonsense, or even restitution, are now absolute realities.

During the past year or so, our resolve has been fortified with significant case law. Up to the present, eight Court outcomes (8 / 0) have occurred in Paris (ICSID), Windhoek (SADC Tribunal), the SA Supreme Court and the SA Constitutional Court. Collectively and separately they uphold the protection of our humanitarian, personal and property rights in Zimbabwe. This includes declaring the farm seizures illegal and discriminatory, and unequivocally confirming our right to compensation and recourse in the Courts, and more. Dutch and South African farmers in Zim find themselves in strong legal positions to pursue compensation, or possibly restitution for those who want it. In fact the Dutch have already been awarded a substantial sum - Peter and Moraig

Letters Received:

From: Bill Carter - Gwebi Agricultural Collage

Dear Bob - The year 2010 marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of Gwebi. I wonder if there are any late 70 and/or early 80 year olds of Courses 1 and 2 still out there. I know that so many have passed on, but I would be delighted to hear of or from wives or any of the early students still around.

I had occasional contact with Peter Pilcher and Niel Purdon before I left to come to South Africa, but those are the only two I know of. The late Peter Fletcher and I went out to the College for the 50th Anniversary, and we former students had a small get-together at the Ruwa Club, but that is the last I have heard of anyone. My email address is wac@iuncapped.co.za and so please contact me with your news, I would love to hear from you - Thanks. Bill

Funeral Notices
Dumont de Chassart, Thomas Jean: Died at his home in Scottburgh on Monday, December 14, 2009. Beloved husband of Lilian, loving father of Michelle (deceased), Phillip and Nicole, adored Bonpapa of Andrew, Stephanie, Natalie, Gabrielle, Katrina, Robyn and Jemma.
His funeral took place at St. Clares Catholic Church, Scottburgh at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 17. Requiem Mass was conducted by Bishop Graham Rose. A memorial service will take place in Zimbabwe at date to be advised.
Van Duren, Herman - Died suddenly in Australia on the 11th November 2009. Dearly beloved husband of Marga and special father of Adele, Paul & David and You will always be remembered.
Fussell Malcolm Boots - Died peacefully on the 19th November 2009 in England. He will be very lovingly remembered by Dawn, Michael & Jennifer, Pip & Frances, William & David and the many wonderful friends that filled his life. Contact: Frances Fussell: 0912-302292 Email: pmfussell@zol.co.zw or Dawn Fussell: 00-44-1480435460 Email: dawn.fussell6@talktalk.net
As soon as we receive notification of a payment of the AWARD in respect of ICSID G 1 and further developments for ICSID G2, I will of course put out another AA Newsletter. In the meantime, all that remains is for me to do, is to once again thank you all for your support and hope you all had a very Happy Christmas and that you all have a Prosperous New Year.

Kind regards,

Bob Fernandes
45 Yew Court
Old Bridge Road
Ilkley
LS29 9HH
West Yorkshire
Tel: + 44 (0)1943 605 004
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7717 593 757
Skype C/s: bob.fernandes1.
Email: bob@agricafrica.com

We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust our sails. Anon
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