ZAMBIA Airforce Projects Limited has asked the Court of Appeal to discharge the injunction which restrained continued works at Kingsland City, arguing that it has complied with the pre-conditions of the Zambia Environmental Management Agency’s decision letter of February 7, 2019.
On February 17, this year, Court of Appeal judge Mubanga Kondolo granted Chalimbana Headwaters Conservation Trust Limited and nine traditional leaders of the Soli people an injunction restraining the continued works at Kingsland City.
According to an affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for an order to discharge an interim injunction filed in the Court of Appeal on August 20, this year, ZAF Projects Limited director Colonel Edgar Lungu submitted that the said ruling of the court specified that the injunction could be vacated by ZAF Projects Limited complying with the pre-conditions set out in the decision letter issued by ZEMA dated February 7, 2019.
He stated that in compliance with the conditions set out in the decision letter, ZAF Projects Limited on March 3, 2020 submitted a copy of the report of the Hydrological study for the Chalimbana Catchment Area and Ecological Management Plan for the Proposed Mixed-Use Development at ZAF Twin Palm to ZEMA for review and possible approval.
Col Lungu stated that by letter dated March 10, 2020, ZEMA approved the said report which was in fulfilment of the conditions of the decision letter.
He stated that by letter dated July 29, 2020, ZEMA further approved the Hydrological Report and Water Management Plan for ZAF Twin Palm Mixed-Use Infrastructural Development in fulfilment of the conditions of the decision letter.
“ZAF Projects Limited having fulfilled the pre-conditions set by ZEMA and as guided by this honourable court through its judgment of February 17, 2020, this is a proper case for the honourable Court to exercise its discretion in discharging the injunction as conditions 3.1.3 and 3.1.5 of the decision letter dated February 7, 2019 have been complied with,” Col Lungu stated.
But Chalimbana Headwaters Conservation Trust Limited and the nine traditional leaders of the Soli people opposed to the said application arguing that this was not a proper case to allow the discharge of the injunction as the respondents were still in breach of the conditions of the decision letter.
Robert Chimambo, the secretary of Chalimbana Headwaters Conservation Trust, stated in an affidavit in opposition filed on Wednesday that even with the Court’s injunction and clear direction not to carry out any works, there was still non-compliance as the respondents continued building and allowed tenants to move into some of the properties.
He added that the said tenants were drawing water from boreholes and not using approved sewerage systems in contravention of the decision letter.
“They (respondents) have come to this court seeking the lifting of the injunction so that they can continue construction when they are in continuing breach of this Court’s injunction and the Environmental Licences that they require to carry on with the project. This is not a proper case to allow the discharge of the injunction because the respondents are still in breach of the conditions of the decision letter,” Chimambo stated.
And when the matter came up before judge Kondolo for hearing of the said application, Thursday, ZAF Projects Limited through its counsel Calisto Nambote insisted that the court should discharge the injunction.
He said the court had in its ruling set pre-conditions for ZAF Projects Limited to meet in order for the injunction to be discharged or vacated, adding that the said conditions had been fully complied with.
“It is our prayer that this Honourable Court will discharge the injunction issued because the first respondent (ZAF Projects Limited) has clearly demonstrated that it has fully complied with the Court’s instructions,” Nambote said.
And Attorney General Likando Kalaluka also submitted that the dictates of justice required that the court exercises it’s discretion to vacate the injunction on the basis that ZAF Projects Limited had complied with the conditions set by the court.
“It is quite clear that the dictates of justice requires that this court exercises it’s discretion to vacate the injunction herein on the basis that the first respondent has complied with the conditions set by this Honourable Court,” he said.
But in response, Chalimbana Headwaters Conservation Trust Limited and the nine traditional leaders of the Soli people argued through their lawyer Mutembo Nchito, that the respondents had failed to demonstrate that they were in compliance with environmental laws.
He added that if they were to continue operations at Kingsland City in disregard of the environmental laws, that would render the whole exercise at the High Court academic.
“It is our submission that the respondents have failed to demonstrate that they are in compliance with the environmental rules. If they are to continue operations on that site in disregard of the environmental laws, that will render the whole exercise at the High Court academic and the interest of the appellants will be prejudiced,” Nchito said.
Ruling on the application has been reserved.
In the matter before the Lusaka High Court, Chalimbana Headwaters Conservation Trust and nine traditional leaders of the Soli people, who include among others, senior headman Maoma and senior headman Nkomenshya have sued Zambia Airforce Projects Limited and Kingsland City Investment for carrying out construction works on a forest reserve.
Other companies sued include; Drimtown Investments Limited, Shangrila Investments Limited and Datong Construction Limited.
The plaintiffs have also sued ZEMA, Water Resources Management Authority and the Attorney General.
Last year, High Court judge Ruth Chibabuka granted the plaintiffs an ex-parte order of injunction restraining the defendants from carrying out any further building and constructions works on the forest reserve.
She however recused herself from handling the matter and the case was later reallocated to justice Mwila Chitabo.
But in his ruling dated July 29, 2019, Justice Chitabo ruled that the case wasn’t fit and proper to confirm the interim injunction earlier granted and accordingly vacated it.
Justice Chitabo however granted the complainants leave to appeal to the superior Court of appeal.
The applicants then renewed their application for an interim injunction before the Court of Appeal which was granted on February 17, this year.
ZAF Projects Limited has now asked the Court of Appeal to discharge the said injunction.