By Mwaka Ndawa
VEDANTA Resources Holdings Limited has sought leave of the High Court to commence judicial review proceedings against Celine Nair’s decision to illegally appoint herself as the provisional liquidator of its mining firm Konkola Copper Mines (in liquidation).
Vedanta says it was illegal for the official receiver to lure Milingo Lungu to relinquish his position so that she could replace him.
Vedanta is seeking an order of certiorari to quash the appointment of acting official receiver Celine Meena Nair, as provisional liquidator of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
On May 9 this year, KCM acting chief executive officer Enock Mponda announced the appointment of Nair, a former principal legal officer at the Ministry of Justice and board member at Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority, as provisional liquidator of the mining firm.
However, in its application for leave to commence judicial review, Vedanta being the majority shareholder of KCM, wants the court to declare Nairs appointment illegal.
Vedanta also seeks an order of prohibition against Nair’s appointment.
Vedanta argued that Nair acted from want of authority and consequently her decision was in excess of section 65(1) of the Corporate Insolvency Act.
It stated that the official receivers’ decision to replace Lungu as provisional liquidator of KCM was illegal and null and void, as only the High Court had the power to appoint either the official receiver or any other person to be provisional liquidator of a company which was pending to be wound up.
“By a consent settlement agreement dated 15th March, 2022 made between Natasha Nsanta Kalimukwa the Official Receiver and Milingo Lungu then Provisional Liquidator for KCM, the parties agreed that Milingo Lungu would resign as Provisional Liquidator for KCM with immediate effect and that he would handover to Natasha Nsanta Kalimukwa – as Provisional Liquidator of KCM pursuant to section 67 of the Corporate Insolvency Act,” Vedanta stated. “The Official Receiver contravened regulation 2 of the Corporate Insolvency (Forms and Fees) Regulations by her failure to publish in the gazette her appointment to the said position.”
Vedanta said Nair’s appointment ought to be registered with the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) in order to make the public aware of the appointment.
It is further praying that if leave is granted it should operate as a stay of Nair’s appointment and further proceedings to which the application relates until its determination.