KCM lawyer opposes Vedanta application to join winding up petition

By Staff Reporter

KONKOLA Copper Mines’ lawyer Bonaventure Mutale has opposed the application by the mining giant’s majority shareholder Vedanta Resource Holding Limited to join the proceedings in the case where ZCCM-IH wants the former to be wound up.

ZCCM-IH filed a petition in the Lusaka High Court a fortnight ago to wind up KCM because it was insolvent and had failed to pay outstanding invoices to suppliers and contractors as and when they fell due, among other allegations.

ZCCM-IH through an ex parte order granted by Lusaka High Court judge Anessie Banda Bobo appointed lawyer Milingo Lungu as provisional liquidator.

However, Vedanta applied to join the proceedings as 2nd respondents in their capacity as KCM’s majority shareholders but Mutale has opposed the application.

Mutale in his affidavit filed in court argued that the order for joinder being sought by Vedanta was not provided for by the Companies winding up Rules of 2004 and that there is no lacuna therein to the hearing of the interested persons.

He stated that there was no provision for joinder of the party at any stage of the proceedings in a petition to wind up the company.

Mutale added that a person who wishes to be heard either to support or

oppose the petition was only required to file the prescribed notice

into court.

But a representative for Vedanta, Hermein Uys stated that the mining conglomerate’s application for joinder was rightly before the court.

He submitted that KCM has failed to establish the basis upon which

Vedanta should not be joined to the proceedings.

Uys added in his reply to the opposition by KCM that the latter and ZCCM-IH have not disputed the reasons they advanced to be joined to the petition.

He stated that Vedanta intended to make applications and representations as a party in opposition on the appointment of Lungu

as provisional liquidator of KCM at the inter-parte hearing of the

application to appoint the provisional liquidator.

Meanwhile, ZCCM-IH lawyer Stephen Lungu has raised preliminary issues, accusing Vedanta, the 2nd intended respondent, of having filed documents and raising new issues without seeking leave of the court.

When the matter came up in chambers Tuesday, Lungu contended that

Vedanta has filed documents into court and raised new issues in it

without leave of the court.

He said one of the new issue which Vedanta raised was the issue of whether any claim by ZCCM-IH should be by any way of arbitration pursuant to the shareholder agreement in the matter

as Vedanta would only be entitled to appear at the hearing to

support or oppose the petition to make winding up order as opposed

to being in a position to intervene and protect its rights as

majority shareholder.

But lawyers for Vedanta led by Mulenga Mundashi argued that the

issues raised were within as they were worthy to be heard in support

of the application of his client for a joinder.

Judge Banda Bobo has adjourned the case to June 11 for hearing Lungu’s preliminary issues and also Vedanta’s application for joinder.