The Ventriglia family, in what is becoming their typical style and fashion on Thursday obtained an Ex Parte (without Finsbury being heard) injunction restraining Finsbury Investments Limited (Finsbury) from holding itself out as a Shareholder of Zambezi Portland Cement (ZPC) until final determination of the case or further order involving the share dispute before Hon. Mr. Justice J. Chashi under cause No. 2008/HPC/0366.
In this particular case, the Ventriglias are claiming that the shares held by Finsbury were transferred to them through forgery or that in the alternative, Finsbury should pay for the shares transferred and held. The Judge has further ordered that the Injunction application will be heard inter partes (both parties) on 5th June 2015.
The status quo remains that Finsbury is a 58% shareholder in ZPC while Ital Terazzo holds 42% and that the Directors remain as reflected in the PACRA Print Out.
ZPC through its Company Secretaries Professional Services Limited yesterday convened a Board of Directors meeting. However, the Ventriglias rushed to Court to try and stop the meeting from going ahead, thus the Ex Parte Injunction. Anyone can get Ex Parte Injunction as the other party is not there to defend themselves. The person who get the ex-parte injunction undertakes to pay damages to the absent party if the court later hears that the first person was lying. So there is nothing victorious or worthy celebrating about an ex-parte injunction. Real issues will be decided during an interparte hearing where the accuser and the other party are both present. Just like the Bible says, the person who speaks first appears to be saying the truth until his challenger comes.
The shareholders’ dispute has been going on for well over 8 years now. This has since seen 2 managements emerge since the 7th of April 2015 with one duly constituted under the Law (Finsbury) and the other one through illegal physical presence at the plant through vitality (Ventriglias). This development has received mixed feelings across sections of society as the cement plant has failed to run smoothly with suppliers not being paid by the Ventriglias and employees receiving underpayments of salaries after a purported 10% increment which forms part of the Collective Agreement they signed.
The shareholders’ dispute has reached an all time high at a time when Nigerian Multi Billionaire Aliko Dangote has just opened a cement plant in Ndola. On the 22nd day of May 2015, Finsbury Investments Limited presented a Petition in the High Court for Zambia stating that IT IS JUST AND EQUITABLE that ZPC be wound up. The hearing of this Petition has been set for 30th July 2015 before Hon. Madam Justice F.M. Chishimba under cause No. 2015/HPC/0225.