9 November 2012

Zambia: KCM Loses Application Over Copper Sale

THE Kitwe High Court has dismissed an application for an injunction by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) restraining Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) from auctioning 20 tonnes of copper.

KCM, as the plaintiff in the matter, had sued ZRA as the defendant for advertising the auctioning of various copper quantities in the Times of Zambia newspaper that was scheduled for September 15, this year.

The copper concentrates were intercepted by the anti-copper theft squad between December 1, 2009 and December 17 the same year and the relevant documentation was not produced.

KCM was seeking a declaration that the 20 tonnes of copper advertised to be auctioned was its property and further applied for an injunction to restrain ZRA from proceeding with the auction.

The plaintiff stated that it was not aware of the seizure of its copper by the defendant and that the concentrates were wrongly and unlawfully in the defendant's possession.

But ZRA denied that the copper concentrates were wrongly in its possession, saying the plaintiff was fully aware of the circumstances under which the concentrates got into its possession.

The defendants contended that the copper concentrates were in its possession during its performance of statutory duties under the Customs and Exercise Act.

In her ruling, High Court Judge Judy Mulongoti noted the submissions from both parties and that the defendant had had possession of the concentrates since December 17, 2009 while the plaintiff did not know about it until it was advertised to be auctioned.

Ms Justice Mulongoti said the defendant had submitted that the value of the copper concentrates was ascertainable and that the plaintiff would not suffer irreparable injury if the court ruled in favour of the defendants.

She stated that the defendant averred that it was an error to have included the copper concentrates on the list of goods to be auctioned as it was still the subject of criminal investigations and that the same should be removed from the list of items to be auctioned.

"I therefore refuse to grant an interlocutory injunction and an ex-parte interim injunction granted on September 13, 2012 is accordingly discharged with costs to the defendant," she said.

She, however, granted leave to appeal.

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