$1m claim in costs by Rephidim, 2 others is inflated, says Vedanta

VEDANTA Resources Holdings Limited has argued that the US $1,000,000 (K14,500,000) claimed by Rephidim Mining and Technical Suppliers Limited and two other companies as security for costs is an over-estimation of the likely costs in the matter and also intended to stifle the action.

Vedanta adds that its action has reasonable prospects of success and, as such, no order for costs is likely to be made against it.

In this matter, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) board and Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited have sued Milingo Lungu in his capacity as Provisional Liquidator of KCM, Rephidim Mining and Technical Suppliers Limited, Mimbula Minerals Limited and Moxico Resources Zambia Plc in the Lusaka High Court Commercial Registry seeking, among other claims, an injunction restraining Lungu whether by himself or his agents from taking any action to effect or perfect the sale of Lot 694/M to the other defendants.

Last year, Rephidim Mining and Technical Suppliers Limited, Mimbula Minerals Limited and Moxico Resources Zambia asked the Court to order Vedanta to pay for security for costs pegged at US $1,000,000, stating that they may encounter difficulties in enforcing any order for costs that may be made in their favour as Vedanta was resident outside Zambia.

The three companies further stated that as a company incorporated outside Zambia, Vedanta had no assets premised in Zambia to their knowledge that they may pursue in case the Court awards them costs.

But in an affidavit in opposition to summons for an order for security for costs filed on February 5, 2020, a director and company secretary of Vedanta Resources Holding Limited, Deepak Kumar, who resides in the United Kingdom (UK), stated that Vedanta’s registered office was in the UK.

He added that it was not true that the defendants may encounter difficulties in enforcing any order for costs as Vedanta was not impecunious (penniless) and would be able to meet the costs in the event that such an order for costs was made given that it was one of the largest investors in the Zambian economy.

Kumar stated that it was true that Vedanta’s action had merit and had reasonable prospects of success and as such, no order for costs was likely to be made against it.

He stated that the action was not derivative and as such, Vedanta does not require leave to commence it.

Kumar further stated that Vedanta’s action was properly before Court and that the defendants’ application was misconceived and had no merit.

“I am advised by my advocates and verily believe the same to be true that the sum of US $1,000,000.00 or ZMW 14,500,500 at the current exchange rate claimed by the defendants as security for costs is an over-estimation of the likely costs in this matter and it is, at the very least illusory, oppressive and intended to stifle the plaintiffs’ action,” stated Kumar.

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