Vedanta appeals against High Court refusal to stay KCM winding up proceedings

By Staff Reporter
VEDANTA Resources Holding Limited has appealed to the Court of Appeal against Lusaka High Court judge Annessie Banda-Bobo’s refusal to stay the winding up proceedings of Konkola Copper Mines and refer parties to arbitration.
Meanwhile, Vedanta has asked the Lusaka High Court to stay the proceedings to wind up Konkola Copper Mines pending determination of the appeal.
This is in a matter where ZCCM-IH has petitioned the court to wind up KCM for being insolvent and engaging in tax evasion, among other allegations.
On August 7, judge Banda-Bobo dismissed Vedanta’s application to stay proceedings and  refer parties to arbitration on the ground that it was not a proper case to allow the application.
According to a memorandum of appeal, Vedanta among others grounds, have argued that judge Banda-BoBo erred in law and fact by refusing to refer the petition to arbitration and staying the proceedings after
finding that there was in fact an arbitrable dispute  between Vedanta and ZCCM-IH which is the subject of an arbitration agreement.
They also stated that the judge erred in law and fact when she held that the Vedanta as contributor could not make an application to stay and refer parties to arbitration  as it was not a party  to the proceedings, a finding  which  is  ot  consistent with the true interpretation of the Arbitration  Act.
Vedanta has contended that judge Banda-Bobo erred in law and fact when she concluded that KCM is a separate entity from Vedanta and that only KCM could defend itself in the winding up proceedings.
And in an affidavit in support of ex-parte summons for an order to stay proceedings pending determination of the appeal, Vedanta representative Hermein Uys stated that the petition proceedings should be stayed, saying in the event that the appeal by the contributor succeeds, the outcome of the appeal could be rendered academic should the winding up proceedings before this court proceeds and KCM be wound up and in such a case, the contributor will be seriously prejudiced.
Uys stated that the Vedanta group has since 2004 provided over US$1billion in the form of shareholders loans to KCM  and has provided guarantees for certain loans and credit facilities from third party banks.
He stated that the contributor has also granted a US$100 million advance payments made by one of KCM’s customers.
“I also state that the Vedanta group ( of which the contributor is a member ) is by far the largest creditor of the respondent and therefore likely to suffer the greatest financial harm if the stay is not granted,” Uys said. “It is desirable and in the interest of justice that all further proceedings before this court be stayed pending the hearing and determination of the appeal by the Court of Appeal.”