Chairman & Senior Partner: Canaan Farirai Dube
Chairman of the Executive Committee: Edwin Manikai
Managing Partner: Milanda Manjengwah
Number of partners: 12
Number of lawyers: 18
Found in 1998, Dube, Manikai & Hwacha (DMH) has established itself as a pioneer on the Zimbabwean legal landscape, leaving an inedible mark by offering expert legal advice in business law. DMH is reputed as a top tier, respected, experienced and leading business law firm. For the year 2019, it was one of only four Band 1 ranked business law firms in Zimbabwe and had one of only four Band 1 ranked business lawyers in Zimbabwe. DMH were also retained to represent public entities, including State Owned Enterprises. The firm’s named partners are highly regarded and currently Canaan Dube and Edwin Manikai Chair Delta (largest and most admired company listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange) and the Presidential Advisory Council, respectively. The firm has eighteen lawyers in total and forty percent of the lawyers in the firm’s Partnership are women.
Main Areas of Practice:
- Banking & Finance
- Energy & Projects
- Dispute Resolution & Litigation
The firm advises clients on a wide range of specialised legal services in the commercial, corporate and financial services sector. Recently, the firm:
■Advised a local company on its ZWD100 million capital raise
■Acted as local counsel for the restructuring and divisionalisation of one of Zimbabwe’s largest chicken processing companies
■Has involved as the local law legal advisor to Old Mutual plc. in its demerger exercise
■Has been involved a strategic advisors to the region’s leading pan-African business systems solution provider with a foothold across Africa and the Middle East in sectors such as government, mining, manufacturing, social security as well as tax and revenue collecting agencies. The team has been the strategic legal advisors for the company and has played a pivotal role in several negotiations and litigation matters
■Was counsel for the restructuring of a dual listed coal mining entity, as well as for the chrysotile mining group
■Advised on a USD20 Million acquisition of hospitality assets
■Advised on a USD 20 Million acquisition of a controlling interest in gold mining assets by a listed company
■Advised on a USD12Million acquisition by a public entity of a controlling stake held by a London Stock Exchange listed company in a local entity
Banking & Finance:
■Represented the African Export-Import Bank in their structured trade finance activities in Zimbabwe. DMH advised the multilateral institution on trade financing facilities worth in excess of USD1 billion in 2019 ■Zimbabwean Counsel in respect of loans by international and regional financial institutions to the local banks and companies
■Appointed legal advisor for a feasibility study for the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe Limited Climate Finance Facility
Energy & Projects:
■ Advised on the USD35m, USD110m, USD135m and USD188m Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company funded power projects;
■Advised an international bank on the loan, escrow and security arrangements of a US$ 319 million loan, for the implementation of the Kariba South Hydro Power Station 300MW project.
■Lead counsel in the negotiations pertaining to the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), for a 100MW Solar Power Project
Advised one of the country’s largest fast-moving consumer goods on all its competition matters, including but not limited to advising on abuse of dominance indicators, merger and acquisition structuring and ensuring all subsidiaries within the group comply with competition laws and regulations. The team has managed to foster a good working relationship with the Competition and Tariff Commission of Zimbabwe.
The firm’s dominance in the field of employment law is unparalleled. Its advisory services follow the full cycle of an employer/employee relationship from recruitment, immigration, employment contracts and remuneration, company employment policies (working in conjunction with human resources), internal hearings, dispute resolution and mediation, restructuring and retrenchment. Some recent notable work includes, but not limited to:
■Successfully represented National Foods Limited against claims for payment of various allowances, demands for salary increments based on awards handed down in the Zimbabwe dollar era. This saved the company a total liability of more than US$ 500 000
■Counsel assisted the National Employment Council for the Banking Undertakings in drafting their new collective bargaining agreement. The department has also successfully represented clients such as ZESA Holdings Limited in matters relating to the interpretation of its collective bargaining agreements saving the entity from huge liability
■Legal Counsel that pioneered the current status quo in applying the ‘Dirty Hands Principle’ when dealing with labour and employment disputes
The firm aims to advise and represent its clients (mostly taxpayers) with a high level of competence and diligence and is proud to have dealt with various tax disputes that came to a successful end. Some notable work includes, but not limited to: ■Advised largest PGM mining corporate on additional tax claim by the tax commissioner, and on excise tax remission
■Successfully represented companies in the tourism industry resulting in a reprieve from government that led to the enactment of a statutory instrument that outlaws the tax assessments that had been raised against them and ultimately saving our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars
■Successfully defended a client in the Energy Industry against a claim made by ZIMRA, which resulted in the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority withdrawing its matter
■Providing tax opinions to both local and international clients, leading corporates in the cross border transport sector, international law firms, tax advisors. This has seen most of the clients listed above managing their tax affairs in line with the opinion given
■Quite recently, the tax department has also been entrusted with high profile cases involving such tax areas that are considered novel in the Zimbabwean jurisdiction. Such areas include transfer pricing, tax strategy among other disciplines
The firm has a thriving conveyancing and securitisation practice which is a key unit in the firm whose practitioners collaborate with the firm’s other lawyers in deal structuring and securitisation. It has years of experience in advising local and international clients on complex transactions underpinned by securitisation. The firm’s advisory services are unmatched in Zimbabwe. Notable work includes:
■Lead local counsel for African Export-Import Bank on various multi-million-dollar transactions
■Lead advisors and conveyancers for the country’s largest building societies in housing development projects and mortgage finance
Dispute Resolution & Litigation:
The firm has a strong civil and commercial litigation practice which has an excellent success rate including leading the defence of Presidential Petition in August 2018. It has represented notable corporations such as Delta Corporation Limited and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company.
The firm also has a strong and effective debt collection department which guarantees recovery of the debt within the shortest possible period of time. Our debt collection department currently recovers unpaid loans for financial institutions for FBC Bank Limited, FBC Building Society, Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited and Central African Building Society.
The firm has a growing intellectual property practice, with capability and experience in working with local and international clients in relation to the registration of intellectual property rights, with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (ZIPO), Africa Regional Intellectual Property Office (ARIPO) and internationally through the Madrid System, intellectual property litigation and/or arbitration, advisory services related to intellectual property in Zimbabwe, drafting of all manner of agreements related to intellectual property (licence, assignment, software and ICT agreements),domain name registration and maintenance in liaison with Zimbabwe Internet Providers Association (ZISPA),registration of Plant Breeder’s Rights in terms of the Plant Breeders Rights Act [Chapter 18:16] and registrations in terms of the Seeds Act [Chapter 19:13].