KCM objects Vedanta’s application to join liquidation case

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) under the charge of provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu, wants the Lusaka High Court to dismiss the application by Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited to join in the winding-up proceedings.

This is the matter in which ZCCM Investments Holdings PLC is seeking an order to have KCM liquidated.

However, Vedanta which is the majority shareholder in KCM, applied to join the proceedings as a second intended respondent saying if not joined, the multinational company would stand to suffer great prejudice, having over 79 percent shares in KCM.

But Bonaventure Mutale, a lawyer who has been retained by the provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu on behalf of KCM, stated in the respondents skeleton arguments opposing summons for an order of joinder, that the order being sought by Vedanta was not provided for in the companies winding up rules of 2004.

He therefore asked the court to dismiss Vedanta’s application with costs.

“We submit, on the basis of the foregoing that the order sought by intended second respondent is not provided for by the companies (winding-up) rules of 2004 and that there is no lacuna therein relating to the hearing of interested persons. We accordingly pray that the application be dismissed with costs,” Mutale stated.

“I verily believe that in a petition to wind up a company there is no provision for joinder of a party, at any stage of the proceedings. Further, I verily believe that a person who wishes to be heard to either support or oppose the petition is only required to file the prescribed notice into court,” Mutale stated.

But Vedanta through its representative Hermein Uys argued that KCM had failed to establish the basis on which the multinational should not be joined to the proceedings at that stage.

“Vedanta needs to be able to make and intends to make applications and representations as a party in opposition on the appointment of Milingo Lungu as provisional liquidator of the respondent at the inter-partes hearing to the application to appoint the provisional liquidator. To enable Vedanta make submissions on the appointment of the provisional liquidator as well as any other application in relation to the petition, it will need to be joined to these proceedings as respondent,” he stated.

“I verily believe that the application for joinder is rightly before this court. In any case, the respondent has not disputed the reasons advanced by Vedanta in support of its application to be joined to these proceedings. In the premises, the respondent has failed to demonstrate the basis on which Vedanta should not be joined to these proceedings at this stage.”

Meanwhile, when the matter came up in chambers yesterday, ZCCM’s lawyers raised a preliminary concern, accusing Vedanta of having raised new issue without leave of the court.

Justice Banda-Bobo reserved her ruling on the preliminary issues to June 11, this year, when she will also proceed to hear the joinder application.

According to a statement issued recently, Vedanta Resources has taken the government of Zambia to international arbitration following the seizure of its Konkola Copper Mines.

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