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Zimbabwe halts seizure of foreign-owned farms

04 January 2013, 11:14

Harare - Zimbabwe has ceased grabbing foreign-owned farms protected by bilateral investment agreements.

This was after a group of 40 Dutch farmers won a lawsuit for the loss of their property.

Lands minister Herbert Murerwa on Thursday said government had decided to steer clear of farms falling under the so-called Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) because previous ventures into those farmlands have proved costly.

“All farms under BIPPA will not be acquired under the land reform programme. That’s the position we have taken for now,” the minister said.

“This is in view of the on-going litigation in the ICSID (International Court for the Settlement of Investment Disputes).”

The tribunal, which is a branch of the World Bank, in 2009 ruled in favour of the Dutch farmers who had sought compensation for land expropriated by Zimbabwe.

It ordered the government to pay the farmers $11.5 million in compensation and slapped a 10 per cent interest for every six months from the date the farms were seized until full payment of the amounts.

Minister Murerwa said the government owed the farmers $25 million following their victory at the Washington-based tribunal. (AFP)



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