SA bank sues Zambian government

Amalgamated Bank of Southern Africa (ABSA) has sued Zambia for breach of contract involving more than US$74 million in the importation and refinery of feed stock.

In a writ of summons filed in the Lusaka High Court on June 29, ABSA says the Government is liable on the basis of breach of collateral warranty for the payment of the $74,394,060.21 plus interest.

According to an affidavit in support of a writ of summons, ABSA had dragged the Zambian Government to a South African high court local division where it obtained a judgment in default and an order for it to be paid $74,394,060.21.

The affidavit stated that in 2001 ABSA started negotiations with a view to fund the Zambia National Oil Company (ZNOC) for the acquisition of feedstock from the suppliers and for the operations.

The deal included payments to Tazama for storage, pumping and payments to Indeni for refinery.

“The negotiations for the funding of ZNOC came to an end when it was placed under receivership and subsequently liquidated and this led to the commencement of negotiations between the Government and ABSA.

“These negotiations culminated into conclusion of a suite of agreements including a revolving oil supply credit agreement in March 2002 between ABSA and Trans- Saharan Trading (TST) Limited for the sum of $100 million,” the affidavit reads.

Pursuant to the facility agreement and on the strength of Government’s undertaking, ABSA advanced funds to TST which defaulted on its obligations to ABSA. This ultimately led to the instituting of legal proceedings.

“ To date none of the aforesaid amount has been paid by TST and the judgment debt granted in favour of ABSA remains unsatisfied and despite attempts ABSA is unable to make any recovery in this refund as at December 2008,” the affidavit reads.

The Government in October 2002 unilaterally purported to withdraw the undertaking it agreed upon and terminated the TST’s mandate to procure, import, refining, market and sell of the feed stocks.

The statement read that Government’s action to withdraw the undertaking at a time when amounts were owing to ABSA in terms of the facility agreement impacted negatively and prejudiced the rights of TST as contemplated in the facility agreement.

In the premises the Government was liable to the repayment of the said monies to ABSA.

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