KCM’s $30m debt may bankrupt CEC – lawyers

The matter in which Konkola Copper Mines has sued power supplier and Copperbelt based company, Copperbelt Energy Corporation in the Lusaka High Court came up with lawyers representing the power company indicating that failure by KCM to settle the over US$30 million debt would make the power company run into bankruptcy, the Post Newspaper reported.

Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) recently sued Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) for failure to pay US$30,923,091 for electricity it supplied to the mining company over a period of years

When the case came up for hearing before High Court judge William Mweemba, KCM lawyer Charles Siamutwa applied for an adjournment, claiming the mining company was served late with an application and supporting affidavit and skeleton arguments.

Siamutwa said as a result, he was only served with an affidavit in opposition by his client on August 28 in which he wished to obtain instructions from KCM.

He said the affidavit in opposition brought out contentious factual issues that needed to be responded to by way of affidavit evidence.

Siamutwa applied for a short adjournment which would not bankrupt the power-supplying company and that it was in the interest of justice that the application be heard.

However, CEC lawyers from Albert Wood and Company opposed KCM’s application for an adjournment, saying the application and supporting affidavit and skeleton arguments were made on August 21 and that the application should be heard.

CEC submitted that the payments for electricity were not being made and that the power supplying company might be bankrupt if KCM was not ready to pay the outstanding amount.

In his ruling, judge Mweemba said he agreed with CEC that matters in the commercial list ought to be heard expeditiously, especially when colossal sums of money were involved.

Judge Mweemba said he was reluctantly granting KCM’s application for an adjournment but that he would levy the mining giant with court hearing fee of K500 for causing the adjournment.

CEC is in this matter demanding interest, costs and any other relief the court may deem fit for failure by KCM to pay the said debt for supply of electricity pursuant to the Power Supply Agreement made between the two parties on March 31, 2000.

Judge Mweemba adjourned the matter to September 10 this year for the hearing.

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