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ZCCM-IH OBJECTS TO VEDANTA APPLICATION

ZCCM-IH OBJECTS TO VEDANTA APPLICATION

LESOETSA ZCCM-IH has objected to the application by Vedanta Resources limited in which it is asking the Lusaka High Court to dismiss or set aside the KCM winding up petition, describing the move as an abuse of court process. ZCCM-IH contends that the stay of proceedings is still in effect, thus Vedanta is not in a position to apply for an order to strike out and or dismiss the petition.

In this matter, ZCCM-IH petitioned the court to place Konkola Copper Mine under liquidation claiming that it was being managed in a manner that is detrimental to its interests. It alleged that the giant mining firm whose majority shareholder was Vedanta evaded taxes and it was insolvent.

On September 20, Vedanta filed an application that the petition be struck out arguing that it does not disclose any reasonable cause of Section 57 of the Corporate InsolvencyAct and also have the provision of KCM liquidated discharges. Vedanta stated that it was a continuing breach on the part of ZCCM-IH to continue to pursue the winding up proceedingswhen the petition has been found to breach the shareholder agreement.

But ZCCM-IH in its notice to raise preliminary objection to the application seeks direction on whether the High Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine summons for an order to strike out or dismiss the petition when winding up proceedings have been stayed and dispute referred to arbitration by the Court of Appeal. It further seeks direction on whether the application is properly before court and if it offends section 27 of the Arbitration Act and order 5 Rule 15 of the High Court rules. “Take notice that the respondent shall at the hearing of the contributor’s summons to stay or dismiss petition, raise a preliminary objection to the said application on grounds that the same is irregular and an abuse of court process and the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it,” it stated “Vedanta is precluded from taking any steps towards the enforcement of the partial final arbitral award until the expiration of the 90 days effectiveJuly 7, 2021.

The partial final arbitral award was supposed to be effected on October 4, 2021 however Vedanta’s summons to set aside the petition was filed within the 90 day period and is in breach of Rule 17(2) of the Arbitration Rules 2001,” contended. ZCCM-IH adds, “At the heart of arbitration is confidentialitywhich is one of the key reasons the parties chose to go for arbitration for settlement of their disputes as they do not want their differences to be a topic of discussion.

When a matter is being litigated proceedings and documents are generally open to the public and this would be unappealing to parties who desire to keep certain information away from public scrutiny.”

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