Why First Quantum is fighting ZCCM boss Kasolo

Why First Quantum is fighting ZCCM boss Kasolo

 

In January 2018, Lusaka High Court judge Winnie Mwenda dismissed an application in which First Quantum Minerals Limited(FQM) and six others were seeking to dismiss a case where ZCCM-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) sued them for fraud and recovery of funds involving over US$2.3 billion.

ZCCM-IH cited FQM chairman and chief executive officer Philip Pascall, Directors Arthur Pascall, Clive Newall, Martin Rowley and Kansanshi Mining Plc.

Lawyers Eric Silwamba , State House Aides and other have attempted to drop this case but ZCCM-IH and get kickbacks.

But Chief Executive Officer Dr. Pius Kasolo want nothing short of recovery of the $2.3billion.

A mining engineer who worked and ran mines for Anglo-America in South Africa and Ghana, Kasolo has not been an easy nut to crack.l for the wheeler dealers at state House.
But Kasolo’s tenure at ZCCM-IH maybe short-lived as government has appointed a friend and lawyer  Eric Silwamba as chairperson of this exploitative mine houses. It now means Silwamba is the boss of Dr Kasolo. How long will Dr Kasolo survive ?

ZCCM-IH, which holds the country’s stake in foreign-run privatised mines, sued FQM in the High Court in November 2016 and simultaneously filed a Notice of Arbitration in London claiming the Vancouver-based company swindled it out of US$2.3 billion.

ZCCM-IH had further accused FQM of defrauding it by using money from its Kansanshi Mining Plc as cheap financing for its other operations as well as investing in multibillion dollar greenfield projects in Panama, without the Zambian state’s investment company’s consent.

But Pascal and his fellow directors had asked the court to dismiss the action on, among others, grounds that it was irregular for indicating the wrong time in which to enter appearance.

The defendants also wanted the matter to be dismissed alleging that the action was statute barred (since the $2.4billion was externalised in 2007).

FQM Directors also questioned the authority Kasolo was using and perceived the action as incompetent for lack of board resolution to commence and maintain it.

The defendants further wanted the matter to be dismissed because it was allegedly null and void for want of leave to issue process outside jurisdiction.
Since Kasolo commenced the action, he has since faced threats of dismissal and an extensive smear social media campaign against him and his character.
Facebook pages traced to Singapore claiming he had commenced a presidential campaign were opened to malign him against President Edgar Lungu.

Recently a thorough investigations was commissioned that exposed Kasolo’ s nationality as that of South African and therefore ineligible to hold the position.
All these has been done to remove him from his position so that FQM get escape paying the $2.3billion due to cash-strapped Zambia.

But to the surprise of many, especially state house aides , President Edgar Lungu as IDC Board Chairperson, recently renewed Kasolo’s contract.

In her ruling, judge Mwenda ordered that the matter proceeds to trial.

“I have examined the evidence of all the parties regarding the alleged fraud and whether the plaintiff, through its representative or otherwise, was aware of the facts leading to the said fraud, I am of the view, prima facie, that the evidence exhibited in the parties’ affidavits reveals absolute divergent views as regards the knowledge, by the plaintiff, of the transactions forming the basis of the alleged fraud.”

“While the defendants have alleged that the plaintiff was aware of the transactions since 2007, the same seems to have been rebutted by the plaintiff through its evidence that they sought clarity from the defendants, concerning the said transactions; and through its further evidence that the parties had failed to reach a consensus at the 68th board meeting held on 26th September, 2014,” she said.

Judge Mwenda said the issues raised by the parties in their respective affidavits were so contentious that disallowing them to go to trial would not serve justice well.

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