KCM urges the High Court to dismiss Vedanta’s application to set aside answer to petition because they have no locus standi
By Staff Reporter
KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) Limited has asked the High Court to dismiss an application by Vedanta Resources Holding Limited to set aside the answer and affidavit in a matter in which ZCCM-IH wants the court to wind up KCM.
ZCCM-IH is in this matter seeking an order of the Lusaka High Court that KCM be wound up for being insolvent, engaging in tax evasion, among other allegations.
KCM asked for the leave of the court to file an affidavit and answer out of time which was granted through an ex parte order.
However, Vendata in its capacity as a contributor, applied that the court sets aside KCM’s application.
According to a response filed in court, KCM has argued that Vedanta has no locus standi in the matter and that the court acted within the law when it granted it an exparte order to file an answer and affidavit to the petition out of time.
KCM stated that Vedanta was not a party to the proceedings as such could not question the granting of the said order.
It stated that the remedy lies in the other side, in this case, ZCCM-IH being the petitioner to issue summons for inter party hearing if it was dissatisfied with the decision of the court.
KCM stated that it had the right to file the answer and affidavit in opposition to the winding up petition.
It has stated that the filing of the application for ex-parte order was proper and there was real urgency in the matter as any further delay would have entitled the petitioner at the most to have the petition heard without KCM’s answer and it would have prejudiced the interests of the respondent and deprive the court an opportunity to hear from them.
KCM said Vedanta had no locus standi (authority) in this matter and that the decision by Vedanta’s directors to instruct Messrs Nchito and Nchito to make an application before court for a determination on whether the directors had the right to appoint advocates of their choice shows that the directors are only representing the interests of the Contributor and not that of KCM.
KCM stated that Vedanta is a shareholder in the mining company and its job is to make financial investments in the Corporation, which entitled those with voting shares to elect the directors.
KCM added that shareholders do not normally have any rights to have direct involvement in company management as their connection to company management is topically through the board of directors.
The mining company stated that the contributor cannot involve itself in selecting who should manage the affairs of the company or file the answer or affidavit to the proceedings as it was the duty of in-house counsel and management team.
KCM argued that allowing the application filed by Vedanta will give powers to the contributor or shareholders which they do not possess.
In asking the court to set aside the ex-parte granted to Vedanta, Herman Uys a director of Vedanta stated that there is no basis for granting an ex-parte order to KCM representative Maxwell Mainsa who operates under instructions from the provisional liquidator to file an answer and affidavit on behalf of KCM out of time.