Zambia Airforce Projects Limited, Kingsland City Investment and three other construction companies have asked the Lusaka High Court to discharge the interim injunction, restraining them from carrying out any further constructions on a Forest Reserve No.27, claiming that their works are compliant with ZEMA conditions.
Last week, the Lusaka High Court ordered Zambia Airforce Projects Limited, Kingsland City Investment, Drimtown Investments Limited, Shangrila Investments Limited and Datong Construction Limited to refrain from carrying out any further building and construction works on the forest reserve, in Lusaka East.
In this matter, nine traditional leaders of the Soli people together with Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust sued Zambia Airforce Projects Limited and the others on March 13, this year, for allegedly carrying out construction works on a forest reserve.
They were seeking an injunction restraining the defendants from continuing with the construction of the Kingsland City Project in the area, and an order declaring that the developments are a threat not only to the Chalimbana River Catchment but the greater Lusaka Aquifer system.
The plaintiffs stated that the defendants did not comply with the law regarding Environmental Impact Assessments prior to the commencement of the developments as no public hearings were held as required by the law.
They added that as a result, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) issued a protection order stopping the said constructions.
The plaintiffs further stated that despite the issuance of the Protection Order, the defendants had never complied and had continued to carry out constriction works on the environmentally sensitive area.
And last week on April 24, the court granted the injunction in favour of the traditional leaders and ordered an immediate stop to the said constructions.
However, on Apirl 26, the defendants through their lawyer Amos Chitembwe filed an affidavit in support of ex parte summons to discharge an order of interim injunction.
Chitembwe stated that the plaintiffs’ claims that the developments were likely to contaminate the acquifer was misleading as it was not supported by any expert report.
He claimed that Zambia Air Force Projects Limited possessed a certificate of title to the land in issue and therefore the developments being undertaken were in accordance with the covenants as indicated on the said certificate.
Chitembwe further claimed that the traditional leaders and Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust managed to obtain an order of injunction because they did not make a full and frank disclosure of the material facts surrounding the construction works.
“The plaintiff deliberately or negligently misled the court as there has been material change in the circumstances as the said Protection Order from ZEMA has been lifted via a decision letter dated February 7, 2019. And the plaintiffs’ allegation that the defendants had never conducted public hearings with the affected communities or general public is misrepresentation of facts as the same was conducted,” he stated.
Chitembwe further stated that the continued construction works by the defendants would not in any way cause irreparable injury to the plaintiffs as the works were being carried out in conformity with the set conditions by ZEMA.
He urged the court to exercise its discretion to discharge the interim injunction.