THE Judiciary has issued a warning to the public against making running commentaries on a matter where ZCCM-IH has instituted winding-up proceedings against Konkola Copper Mines Plc.
Chief Registrar of the Judiciary and director of court operations Charles Kafunda stated in a public notice issued, Monday, that should discussions on the said matter continue, contempt proceedings may be invoked against those discussing the case.
He added that the commentaries made, tend to undermine the authority of the Court as they express a conclusive view.
“The Judiciary has observed with concern the running commentaries that have been made on a matter that is sub judice. Running commentaries have been made on the case of Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited Vs Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings Plc and Konkola Copper Mines Plc, Appeal No. 181/2019, an interlocutory appeal before the Court of Appeal. The Commentaries made, tend to undermine the authority of the Court as they express a conclusive view. The Court of Appeal has therefore taken strong exception to the commentaries,” Kafunda stated.
“Members of the Public are reminded that discussion of a matter that is sub judice may amount to contempt of court and are further warned that should the discussions on the matter at hand continue, contempt proceedings may be invoked against those discussing the matter.”
Last year, ZCCM-IH petitioned the Lusaka High Court, seeking an order that KCM should be wound up for engaging in tax evasion and being managed in a manner detrimental to its interest, among other allegations.
But Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited, the contributor and majority shareholder of KCM, applied for an order to stay proceedings and refer the parties to arbitration pursuant to section 10 of the Arbitration Act.
However, High Court Judge Anessie Banda-Bobo in her ruling of August 7, last year, dismissed Vedanta’s application saying it was not a proper case to refer the parties to arbitration.
She ruled that staying the proceedings at the instance of Vedanta would be contrary to the wishes of ZCCM-IH and KCM, who were the parties to the proceedings.
Being dissatisfied with her ruling, Vedanta appealed to the Court of Appeal and asked Justice Banda-Bobo to stay the proceedings before her pending the determination of the appeal.
Justice Banda-Bobo in the interest of justice, allowed a stay of the proceedings before her.
She said this would enable the issues raised by Vedanta to be interrogated by the Court of Appeal.
“That being the case, the proceedings are stayed pending the outcome of the matter before the court of appeal,” said Justice Banda-Bobo.