By KALOBWE BWALYA
THE arrest of KCM liquidator, Milingo Lungu by the DEC is premature as he first needed to do a proper handover of the mine either to a new liquidator or to the management for the state to be on the safe side, Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) leader Sean Tembo has said.
Mr Tembo warned that there would inevitably be a protracted legal battle between Government and Vedanta going forward.
He said a such legal battle would boil down to how the mine was ran by the liquidator in the past three years it was entrusted to him, and Government would need the goodwill and institutional memory of Mr Milingo if it was going to put up a decent fight in court against Vedanta.
“For the past three years or so, the liquidator had total control of the mine without any oversight from a board. He entered into contracts and made decisions which the new liquidator or management will need to understand, hence the need for an amicable handover of the mine.
Mr Tembo said even if Government halted the liquidation process, there would be a possible compensation claim from Vedanta for the period that the mine was taken away from them.
“So a legal battle is inevitable. And you need the man who was running the mine to be on your side when such a legal battle ensues. Bally has shot himself in the foot once more. Or more succinctly he has shot the Zambian people in the foot,” he said.
Mr Tembo said before arresting Mr Milingo, Government should have first made a decision on how to proceed with the KCM issue.
He said even if Government decided to proceed with the liquidation process, they could have replaced the current liquidator before proceeding to arrest him for the alleged crimes.
Mr Tembo said the liquidator needed to do a proper handover of the mine either to a new liquidator or to the management of the mine.
“Bally has put his personal hatred for the liquidator above the interests of the nation. He just couldn’t wait to fix the liquidator. He was oblivious to the bigger picture. The KCM issue was already a mess but it has now become messier,” he said.
By KALOBWE BWALYA