By Joel Ngo
It is increasingly becoming apparent that the Zambezi Portland Cement fight between Dr. Mahtani’s Finsbury Investments Ltd and the Italian family (Ventriglias) is going beyond the realm of rule of law. According to what we have established, the Ventriglias have refused to accept the Supreme Court decision which confirms Finsbury Investments Ltd as the majority shareholder in Zambezi Portland Cement. To demonstrate this, they have gone back to the Court of Appeal to try and get a Stay of the Court decision as they attempt to fight the issue of rebasing and the minority shareholder out of time. Effectively, the reality that the Ventriglias are refusing to accept is that Finsbury Investments Ltd is the majority shareholder and that this will never change, regardless of their attempts to undermine the courts of law in Zambia through a few connections that they have.
What is even more worrying and frightening for this country is that the Ventriglias have hired both the Police and thugs commonly known as jerabos to surround the cement plant so that the majority shareholder should not have access to the premises despite the Supreme Court’s decision. The Ventriglias are using Gomeli Litana, a Zambian to break the law with impunity against fellow Zambians and this is being tolerated by Zambian authorities. A peaceful attempt to access the plant twice by ZPC interim CEO Phesto Musonda was met with resistance, assault, theft and malicious damage to property by jerabos at the instance of Gomeli Litana who is just a mere employee of the company. Gomeli Litana seems to enjoy a few privileges with the system, and is currently the Chairperson of Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone. Such is the caliber of some appointees who have total disregard for the law, and one wonders how they are entrusted with such leadership responsibilities at national level.
We have also established that more lawlessness is being perpetrated by PACRA, an institution established to serve the people and yet is being used to fight personal battles. PACRA has not changed the records to reflect what the Supreme Court has said, and has continued to undermine Court Judgments in this matter which are against the Ventriglias. The question we have for the Registrar Mr. Anthony Bwembya: what is in it for you as a public officer to undermine your career and professionalism by refusing to respect the rule of law by ignoring court judgments from the highest court of the land on this matter?
As things stand, there is no court order that permits the Ventriglias to claim ownership of Zambezi Portland Cement, and one can only wonder why and how they are still holding on to the cement plant and the operations of ZPC to the exclusion of the majority shareholder using brute force and the police. What are they hiding? Was Edgar Lungu right in deporting them in 2012 when they were declared a danger to national peace and security? Given all that is happening, we will let you be the judge.
Litana has since purchased the three vehicles pictured from looted monies at ZPC.