OVER 40 residents of Chongwe have dragged United Quarries and its three directors to the Lusaka High Court, accusing them of contaminating boreholes and damaging their properties due to alleged mining activities in the area.
The residents have also sued Chongwe District Council.
Francis Mukuka, suing in his capacity as spokesperson for the other 40 residents, has cited Chongwe District Council, United Quarries, YuWang Ping, Zhengxiong Yu and Lihua Wu as first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents, respectively.
The 41 Chongwe residents want the Court to order that United Quarries do forthwith cease to operate and or conduct any mining business on account of falsification of information submitted before the Ministry of Lands that they deal in agricultural products when they allegedly engaged in mining activities instead.
Mukuka and others also want the Court to grant them an injunction restraining YuWang Ping, Zhengxiong Yu and Lihua Wu, together with United Quarries, from going ahead with the mining activities until final determination of the matter.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court Principal Registry, the plaintiffs stated that after conducting a due diligence search on the register of the Ministry of Lands, it was revealed that Yu, Zhengxiong and Lihua had in fact misrepresented material facts when applying for land by purporting to show that the land was for agriculture purposes, yet it was for mining.
Mukuka stated that it was clear that the intention was to mislead the public office and taking undue advantage by acquiring the piece of land when, ultimately, the use turned out to be otherwise.
“YuWang Ping, Zhengxiong Yu and Lihua Wu caused to give false information by way of false misrepresentation to the Ministry of Lands, thereby, declaring their interest of work as dealing in agricultural products when in fact they deal in mining activities. In consonance and or perpetuity of the misrepresentation upon which the Ministry of Lands acted upon, the third, fourth and fifth defendants have gone ahead to operate the mine to the annoyance of the plaintiffs,” he stated.
Mukuka stated that the illegal mining and blasting of stones had led into the developed structures to develop cracks and had shaken the foundation, subjecting the plaintiffs to fear of death as the structures could fall down any time.
“As though the above is not enough, the underground emission has gone to pollute underground water, thereby, leading to the boreholes sucking contaminated water, which was a hazard to health,” stated Mukuka.
The plaintiffs stated that the conduct of Yu, Zhengxiong and Lihua was not only illegal, but intended to maliciously cause harm on the health of the residents and damages to their properties.