By Joel Ngo
It appears the final verdict on the Zambezi Portland Cement shares will not come anytime soon.
The matter has been dragging on for the past 11 years leading to frustrations from both parties.
As the appeal on the shareholding legal battle of Zambezi Portland Cement pends, there has been alleged mass looting of funds by Italian shareholders Antonio Ventriglia and Manuela Ventriglia.
Sources have spoken of how the protracted legal battle between the Italians and Finsbury Investments Limited has brought the cement manufacturer in Ndola almost to its knees.
The Court of Appeal had ruled that Finsbury Investments Limited be required to pay the Ventriglias K580,000 (Five Hundred and Eighty Thousand Kwacha) rebased and *NOT* K580,000,000 (Five Hundred and Eighty Million Kwacha) for the shares that Finsbury Investments Limited owns in Zambezi Portland Cement Limited.
But the Italians says it’s K580 million they should be paid and have since appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court.
Following the Court of Appeal Judgment dated 31st January, 2019 which confirmed that Finsbury Investments Limited was a 58% shareholder in Zambezi Portland Cement, a battle on the value of shares ensued between the parties and the Court of Appeal was called upon to clarify the position through a Court Order in line with the Rules of the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal had on the 8th April 2019 granted Antonio Ventriglia and Manuela Ventriglia LEAVE TO APPEAL TO SUPREME COURT and STAY OF EXECUTION of JUDGMENT of the 31st January 2019 and the RULING and ORDER of the 29th March 2019.
Following this judgement, Sakwiba Sikota acting for the Ventriglias instructed ZPC Chief Executive Officer Gomeli Litana not to allow joint CEO Phesto Musonda anywhere near the Cement Plant premises in Ndola.
Sakwiba had on February 17th, 2019 called Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga informing her that any second attempt to access company premises by Musonda borders on criminal trespass and should be arrested on sight.
Musonda, was on February 18th, 2019 blocked from entering the company premises by security personnel.
ZPC source tell the Watchdog that from the time the Italians took over management of the plant, there has been massive externalisation of funds to Baco Di Napoli in Italy and stripping of company assets.
Finsbury Investments Limited was ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay K580,000,000 and so far K580,000 has been paid with lawyers representing minority shareholders led by Sakwiba telling the Italian shareholders and Litana that Finsbury Investments Limited cannot make any management appointments until the full amount was settled even after the Court ruled that Finsbury Investment Limited was the majority shareholder at 58% with Antonio Ventriglia and Manuela Sebastian holding 42% shares.
The judgement states “As a remedy, we order that the appellant pays the sum of five hundred and eighty million (580, 000, 000) to the Respondents representing five hundred and eight million (580, 000, 000 shares transferred to the appellant in ZPC Limited, which represents the 58% share transfer of the one billion (1, 000,000,000) share capital authorised by ZPC and allotted to the Respondents at K1.00 par value per share.
Whilst the justice system is dragging its feet in arriving at a final judgement to put the matter to rest, the cement plant finances are being looted and externalised to Italy.