By ADRIAN MWANZA
KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) provisional liquidator Milingo Lungu has reportedly resigned from his position.
This follows an acrimonious week of battling with the Administrator General, Ms Natasha Nsanta Kalimukwa, who two weeks ago announced that Mr Lungu had been suspended as provisional liquidator of the Copperbelt mining giant following a complaint lodged by ZCCM – Investment Holdings PLC relating to contract mismanagement, financial mismanagement, and asset mismanagement.
However, almost immediately, Mr Lungu and his lawyers hit back insisting that he was still in charge of KCM.
However, a story attributed to Reuters says Mr Lungu in a letter dated March 17 and addressed to the KCM official receiver reported he had resigned, but did not give any reason for his decision.
“This serves to inform you that I have with immediate effect resigned as provisional liquidator of Konkola Copper Mines,” read the letter, whose authenticity Mr Lungu confirmed to Reuters.
It was not immediately clear what Mr Lungu’s resignation would mean for KCM’s future.
But Green Party President Peter Sinkamba said he did not know what the next step would be due to the uncertainty on whether liquidation proceedings terminate automatically simply because a liquidator has resigned.
Mr Sinkamba wondered why Government and ZCCM-IH failed to remove Mr Milingo as liquidator despite them accusing him of being a thief and prosecuting him for theft charges.
He also wondered why Mr Lungu had withdrawn contempt proceedings against the receiver.
“What has changed in the last week? Or is it that a deal has been struck between Government and the former liquidator on the ongoing cases?” Mr Sinkamba wondered.
He said he wanted to know the interest of Government and ZCCM-IH in the liquidation proceedings where they had appointed a receiver.
Mr Sinkamba said UPND in opposition accused the Patriotic Front of using KCM as a cash cow for its stalwarts and wondered if UPND was also using this national asset into a cash cow for its stalwarts.
Vedanta has said it is keen to resolve the dispute over KCM and has pledged to invest $1.5 billion into its operations.
According to Reuters, Ms Kalimukwa had moved on March 11 to suspend Mr Lungu after receiving a complaint from ZCCM-IH relating to mismanagement.
Mr Lungu refused to go, however, saying Ms Kalimukwa had no power to remove him as he had been appointed by a court.
Mr Lungu who took charge of the mining firm as provisional liquidator after the departure of Vedanta in a twist of events resigned from his position with immediate effect likely due to pressure from the firm’s receiver.
Mr Lungu has been facing a number challenges, including court battles after he was arrested on two charges of theft.
In his resignation letter of March 17, 2022 addressed to KCM official receiver Natasha Kalimukwa, Mr Lungu did not give any reasons for his decision.
Last week, Mr Lungu threatened to commence contempt proceedings against the receiver.
Many questions have arisen if it is really tenable at law to have a liquidation and receivership for the same company run simultaneously?