Lungu’s oil exploration launch in legal tumble

President Edgar Lungu on Friday launched the Tullow Zambia Block 31 Oil and Gas Exploration in Kasama, against a court order restraining the investor from doing so.

But President Lungu’s spokesperson Amos Chanda says neither the Attorney General nor State House was served with the court order before the launch was carried out.

Launching the exploration on Friday, President Lungu bragged that Tullow Zambia was an example of the massive investments that the PF government was wooing to the country.

“When doomsayers and other unpatriotic elements seek to undermine our motherland by purveying falsehoods about us in some foreign media outlets, our credible response to their lies must be investment such as this. When they say Zambia is unsustainable for business, please show them the Tullow example. We are committed to an all-inclusive development agenda that speaks to the interests of all our people,” said President Lungu.

“That’s why I want to use this opportunity to urge all my colleagues in Cabinet in all functionaries in our great party, the PF to focus our eyes on the ball. Let them talk and let us work. We have just clocked a year since the people gave us a clear mandate to govern. We shall not let them down. Let me make it clear that both in and outside government, I have no more time for fruitless talk and meaningless politicking. I have a job to do.”

But according to an ex-parte court order obtained by News Diggers! the said Block 31 area was already awarded to Rae Zambia, for Oil exploration under licence number PEL/007.

“It is hereby ordered that Tullow Zambia BV by itself, servants, employee, agents, contractors or workmen, subsidiary or associated entity or otherwise is hereby strictly enjoined and restrained from undertaking or engaging in any petroleum exploration activities of whatever nature and description with respect to the area particularly and known as block 31 located in the Northern Province in the republic of Zambia,” read the court order, stamped August 8, 2017 and signed on August 10, 2017.

“Tullow Zambia BV is restrained from interfering with the appellant’s right to enjoy the benefits conferred on it under the Petroleum Exploration Licence number PEL/007 pursuant to the provisions of section 13 of the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act No. 10 of 2008; and that Tullow Zambia BV complies with this order forthwith. It is further ordered that this matter is heard inter-partes on the 25th day of August 2017 at 09:00 hours.”

But Chanda said the Head of State was not aware of the court’s decision to stop the launch of the oil exploration event.

“The Attorney General has not been served with this order neither has Tullow [Zambia BV]. Tullow was informed by phone after the launch that a court order had been issue on 11 TH August,” said Chanda.

“In any event the restraining order is against Tullow but served on AG who has nothing to do with exploration work! This one is a classic case of something fish, anyway we wait until 25. Under the State Proceedings Act the state can never be restrained from carrying out executive functions later on (sic) the president. In this case that order was not served on anyone before the launch.”

         

Joseph Mwenda

About Joseph Mwenda

Joseph Mwenda is a Zambian journalist experienced in political news writing, photography and video editing.
Email: joseph [at] diggers [dot] news

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