GREEN Party president Peter Sinkamba says government and ZCCM-IH should allow the arbitration of Konkola Copper Mine KCM to proceed without disturbances.
Commenting on the Court of Appeal’s decision to reverse the Lusaka High Court’s earlier decision, in which it refused to refer KCM dispute between Vedanta Resources and ZCCM-IH to arbitration, Sinkamba said government should comply with the ruling and that provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu must vacate his position at KCM and let Vedanta continue operations until the arbitration process is concluded.
He said the Court of Appeal’s ruling had confirmed that the liquidation process was mischievous.
“First of all, we want to make a clarification on the statement which was made by the provisional liquidator Milingo (Lungu), that although the Court of Appeal has stayed the proceedings, the High Court order is still valid. That is wrong! What transpired is that the Court of Appeal has stayed the liquidation proceedings meaning that at this point in time there is no liquidation proceedings anymore at KCM until the Court of Appeal orders otherwise or until the Supreme Court orders otherwise. So there is no liquidation proceedings and Milingo must pack his bags and let the Vedanta to continue running the operations at this point in time,” Sinkamba said.
“So we have been proven right, those of us who said that the arbitration was a mischievous activity. We have been proven right, because the development agreement between those three; ZCCM, government and Vendata are very clear that when there is a dispute they should go for arbitration first. After that that is when they can consider court issues. So whatever happened was just mischievous. We hope that they should not even waste anybody’s time to go to the Supreme Court because the Supreme Court will also decide the same. There is no way they can depart from the decision of the Court of Appeal because that is what is in black and white in the agreement.”
Sinkamba said if there was no compliance, ZCCM-IH would be lumped with serious damages.
“We need to know that there is a lot of costs that has been lumped on ZCCM by the Court of Appeal for the mischievous activities of ZCCM. We wouldn’t want those costs to escalate again by way of extending costs to the Supreme Court. So let us hear what the arbitrators would say in South Africa after that is when people can talk about other issues. The best solution is for them to comply with the decision of the Court of Appeal. Let the two parties, ZCCM and Vedanta proceed with the arbitration proceeding in South Africa, that is the best thing that they should do. Allow those proceedings to proceed without being fetered by government or by any other party,” said Sinkamba.
“You see the Court of Appeal’s decision is exactly what the High Court of South Africa also ruled, because it is in black and white. So even this what they were trying to refuse ‘no we can’t follow what South African said, we are a sovereign state’, it was just some bull shit which had no merit at all. Now that we have been guided by our own court in the similar manner like the High Court of South Africa ruled let us follow what they have decided, because that is the right thing. If there will be any merit in the ZCCM claim then the arbitrator is going to give guidance on how to proceed. We foresee a situation where ZCCM is going to be lumped with serious damages for the one year plus that they have been running that operation illegally. If they don’t comply soon they will just increase on the damages that they will suffer when the decisions are made by the arbitrator.”