THE Lusaka High Court has dismissed a case in which Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited sued Konkola Copper Mines provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu seeking an injunction restraining him from taking any action to effect or perfect the sale of the mining rights areas of lot No. 694/M belonging to KCM to Rephidim Mining and Technical Supplies Limited and two others.
Lusaka High Court Judge Bonaventure Mbewe dismissed the action on grounds that it was incompetently before him.
In this matter, Konkola Copper Mines PLC and Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited sued Milingo 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.
However, KCM discontinued its case against the defendants, leaving Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited as the only remaining plaintiff in the matter.
In a ruling delivered recently, Justice Mbewe found that the correct forum which Vedanta should have taken its case to, were the liquidation proceedings currently going on in a matter of petition for winding up of KCM which was before Justice Banda-Bobo .
“Having found that the second plaintiff (Vedanta), being the remaining plaintiff to this action, following the first plaintiff (KCM) having discontinued its case against the defendants, should have made this application in the petition for winding up of KCM wherein it has challenged the liquidation and appointment of the provisional
liquidator,” he said.
“I hereby hold that this action is incompetently before me and must fail for the reasons stated above. I hereby dismiss this action and discharge the injunction granted to the plantiffs. I condemn the second plaintiff (Vedanta ) with costs of the action. Leave to appeal is denied.”
In 2019, Mimbula Minerals Limited and Moxico Resources Zambia PLC had asked the court to stay the interim injunction granted to KCM and Vendata, restraining Milingo from selling the mining rights areas.
The two companies argued that they will suffer huge losses as a result of the ex-parte order of interim injunction that was granted in favour of the KCM board and Vedanta, which put a halt to it’s intended operations despite there currently being no competent cause of action against them.
Stephen Brice, a director of Mimbula Minerals and Moxico Resources companies, stated that on November 28, 2019, Vedanta and the KCM board commenced the action against the defendants, claiming among other things, an order setting aside the consent order dated September 10, 2019 under appeal number 74/2018 and an order of injunction restraining three mining companies whether by themselves from enforcing the consent order in the said appeal until final determination of the matter and that the defendants be restrained from entering and remaining on Lot number 694/M Chingola Zambia.
He stated that a consent order was entered into by KCM, through its provisional liquidator as the proper owner of the surface rights in respect of Lot number 694/M Chingola on one hand and Rephidim Mining, Mimbula Minerals and Moxico Resources on the other hand.
Brice stated that the provisional liquidator was given power by the court to dispose KCM assets by public tender or the most transparent manner under the circumstances to sell real and personal property and things by public auction or private contract.
He stated that KCM wholly discontinued all further proceedings in this matter against its provisional liquidator and Rephidim Mining, Mimbula Minerals and Moxico Resources.
Brice further stated that KCM used to be the owner of the surface rights of Lot 694/M, the asset that was sold or disposed of by way of a consent order, adding that it is the said sale of the surface rights of the said property by KCM to Mexico Resources that KCM was challenging under the guise of setting aside the consent order that disposed of the said asset.
He stated that the said asset belongs to KCM and only KCM has the capacity to sue if the consent order was in issue.
“Following KCM’s discontinuance of the action, the cause of action has wholly fallen off against the defendants as KCM was a proper owner of Lot 694/M, a subject matter in this action. Vedanta did not seek leave to commence an action against the defendants and cannot enforce it’s rights as a shareholder in KCM, a mining entity, as it is not locally registered in Zambia,” Brice stated.
He further stated that Vedanta had no cause of action against the defendants as it was merely riding on KCM, a former owner of Lot 694/M, and that KCM had discontinued the action wholly against the defendants.
Brice stated that Mimbula and Moxico had invested huge amounts of money which cannot be compensated by Vedanta as KCM was undergoing liquidation due to its inability to pay debts or it’s creditors under cause number 2019/HP/0761 in the High Court of Zambia.