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Court denies Vedanta application for joinder to KCM liquidation ex-parte

 

THE Lusaka High Court has denied Vedanta Resources Holding limited an ex-parte application for joinder to the proceedings in which ZCCM-IH has asked to place Konkola Copper Mines under liquidation. Meanwhile, High Court judge Anessie Banda BoBo has halted the inter-partes hearing of the appointment of Milingo Lungu as provisional liquidator of the mining company pending determination of the application for joinder by the second intended respondent (Vedanta Resources).

Vedanta had applied to join the proceedings of winding up KCM as the second intended respondent because it is the majority shareholder with 79.4 per cent shares. When the matter came up for inter-parte hearing yesterday, lawyer representing KCM Bonaventure Mutale applied for an adjournment in order to get instructions from KCM in relation to the intended joinder by Vedanta. Vedanta’s lawyer Mulenga Mundashi could not object to the application for adjournment praying that an exparte order be granted provisionally to Vedanta to hear the application for joinder as well as an inter parte hearing for another date so that it could be heard.

Vedanta says it is ZCCM-IH which had sufficient interest in the petition to confirm the exparte order which approved Lungu as provisional liquidator. However, Mutale submitted that KCM had not yet been served with the pertinent documents by Vedanta and it deserved to be served in order for it to go through and take a position.

“The first respondent (KCM) does not know what the issues are and will only be able to do so after perusal of the documents filed by the second intended respondent and equally finds the application for an exparte order for joinder by the second intended respondent as being totally misconceived,” Mutale said.

 

He added that there was no such an application on ex-parte basis as it was equally highly irregular to purport to launch such an ex-parte application in view of an application for an adjournment. However, justice Banda-Bobo declined to grant the ex-parte application for joinder to the proceedings by Vedanta as it was not before court. She further ordered that the issues of ex-parte joinder be heard inter-partes.

“The application by the petitioner which was originally meant to be heard today will pend until the issue of joinder is disposed off. The matter will be adjourned to June 4th,” said judge Banda-Bobo.

According to an affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for an order for joinder of a party to the proceedings, Vedanta, through its representative Hermien Uys of Stellenboach of South Africa, had asked to join the matter stating that ZCCM-IH and Vedanta were shareholders in the mining company holding 20.6 per cent and 79.4 per cent shares, respectively.

Uys contended the the appointment provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu had assumed the responsibility of a provisional liquidator and demanded that some personnel in KCM’s senior management should prepare handover notes for him.

“The intended 2nd respondent has invested millions of United States dollars in KCM with a view to realising a return of the investment over a period of time and that it is within the intended 2nd respondent’s interests that the respondent should continue as a going concern,” Uys stated.

Uys stated Vedanta had interest in the matter as majority shareholder in KCM, and stands to suffer great prejudice if the court ordered that the mining company be wound up without hearing it. Vedanta sought to make submissions on the appointment of Lungu as provisional liquidator.

“It is in the interest of justice that the intended second respondent be joined as a party to the proceedings herein so that Vedanta may make representations on this matter,” said the representative.
In a petitioner for winding up the mining firm that was filed on may 24, the petitioner stated that KCM is being managed and administered in a manner detrimental to the interests of government.

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