The fight over Zambezi Portland Cement has taken a new twist. We have established that contrary to recent publications suggesting that Finsbury Investments Limited caused the register of the cement company to be changed at PACRA, it is in fact the Ventriglias and their Lawyers who have been causing confusion at PACRA. It is the Ventriglias acting together with the former Registrar Mr. Anthony Bwembya who have been perpetrating illegality by refusing to change the records of Zambezi Portland Cement to reflect the position of the Court of Appeal as directed in the Judgment of 31st January, 2019. The Court in that Judgment stated as follows:

The register at ZPC Limited shall accordingly be restored, if changes have been effected, to reflect the shareholding of 58% by the Appellant.”

This Judgment was delivered on 31st January, 2019, but PACRA through Mr. Anthony Bwembya and the Ventriglias, using political pressure refused to obey and respect the Court Judgment and kept the record in accordance with the High Court Judgment, which the Court of Appeal had overturned, despite several official engagements by Finsbury Investments Limited through its Lawyers for PACRA to abide by the Court Judgment.

With the change of Government, and the pronouncement of respect for the rule of law, what Mr. Wilson Banda did was the correct thing, that is, to respect the Court Judgment and follow it. State Counsel Sakwiba Sikota’s letter to Mr. Banda threatening contempt of court to the man for doing his job correctly, and deliberately attempting to make the matter political by copying in the Minister of Commerce is not only most unfortunate, but embarrassing coming from someone of his standing in the legal profession. In relation to accusations leveled against Dr. Rajan Mahtani personally in the same letter alleging interference with PACRA, we understand that Dr. Mahtani has dismissed the allegations with the contempt they deserve, and has accordingly instructed his Lawyers to deal with the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, we have also established that the attempt by Mr. Sikota to drag the Attorney General in this matter by alleging that the Attorney General has given a directive to maintain an illegal register, is not true. The Attorney General has since distanced himself from this allegation and has advised PACRA to rely on the law, as per Judgment of the Court of Appeal, which recognises Finsbury Investment Limited as the majority shareholder of Zambezi Portland Cement Limited.

This bullish conduct against public officers to break the law has been the style of the Ventriglias, who were deported from Zambia in 2012 for being a danger to national peace and security. This is the same style they have been using, since their return into the country in 2015 to lock out a majority shareholder out of the cement plant, contrary to court pronouncements. We have said it before, and we will say it again, the Ventriglias are the villains in this whole saga, but crying victim everyday using some disgruntled media houses in exchange for a few pieces of silver and gold.