The Lusaka High Court Judge has dismissed with costs a case in which Vikram Investments Limited sued Srisai Chaithrika Mining Limited Chief Executive Officer Vinod Yaddula for allegedly obtaining a mining license fraudulently and breach of contract.
This is a case in which Yaddula, 40 of Chibombo District was sued as 1st Defendant, Srisai Chaithrika Mining Limited as 2nd Defendant, while Rio Tinto Mining Explorations as 3rd Defendant respectively.
- Phiri of Malambo and Company was representatives of the 1st and 2nd defendants, Vinod Yaddula and Srisai Chaithrika respectively.
The 3rd Defendant Rio Tinto Mining Explorations Limited was represented by Ms. Sarah Mulenga of Messrs Company Practitioners.
Ironically, Vikram Investments Limited Lawyers from Equitters Law Firm were missing during the Court ruling.
In his submission, Counsel Phiri prayed that the High Court dismisses the claim brought by the Plaintiff for want of prosecution and disobedience of a Court Order.
Accordingly, Vikram Investments Limited was ordered to pay USD 50 000 to the Defendants as security cost which it did not.
“This Honorouble Court granted the application for payment of security costs on the part of the Plaintiff by a Court Order dated 5th December, 2019 and the ruling of this Honourable Court made in chambers on 15th July 2020,” he said
Mr Phiri added: “The Plaintiff brought an application before this Honorable Court to amend the Court process and join the 3rd Defendant and the said application was granted on 15th May, 2020.”
He stated that the plaintiff has neglected and or declined to pay the said security costs and has not amended the Court process as per the ruling of the High Court which was granted in his favour on the said 15th May 2020.
Mr Phiri said in terms of Order 3/5/12 of the Supreme Court, “a Defendant may apply for an order to dismiss an action for want of prosecution.”
“The said Order 3/5/12 has received judicial consideration in a case of Birkett Vs James wherein, Lord Deploc stated at page 108 that the jurisdiction to dismiss an action for want of prosecution should be exercised where the court is satisfied by: that the default has been intentional and contumelious, e.g. disobedience to an authoritative Order of the Court or conduct amounting to an abuse of Court,” he argued.
Mr Phiri stated that the default on the part of the Plaintiff herein to prosecute its matter has been intentional and contumelious as the Plaintiff was served with the Orders of directions, given by the Honourable Court but decided to stay away.
“We submit that the plaintiff has no established registered office and that it merely exists on paper with its Director and main Shareholder living outside court jurisdiction (Dubai), will greatly prejudice the Defendants as their claims will not be recovered in an event that they succeed, rendering this matter an academic exercise and a costly venture on the part of the Defendants without recourse,” he stated.
Adding: “It is our contention that this is a proper case to dismiss the claims of the Defendant for want of prosecution and disobedience of the Order of this Honourable Court. We therefore pray that this Honourable Court grants our application.”
And Ms Mulenga submitted that there has been excessive and inexcusable delay on the part of the Plaintiff, or its Lawyers and such delays give a rise to a substantial risk that it is not possible to have a fair trial on the actions or such as it is likely to or to have caused such serious prejudice to the Defendants.
And making a ruling, High Court Judge Justice R. Chibbabbuka said: “Having heard Counsel of the 1st and 2nd Defendants and having read the affidavit in support of this application together with skeleton filed herein, further also having heard Counsel of the 3rd Defendant who has not objected the application, by the Defendants to dismiss this entire cause of action for want of is hereby granted as prayed with costs to all the Defendants