The ruling by Judge Albert Wood allowing LapGreen to have their case heard in England which he considered to be neutral is an indictment on Zambia’s oppressive environment in which justice is becoming increasingly difficult to dispense.
According to Mr Brebner Changala many people with cases had been deported and not allowed to come back to Zambia to make their cases a blemish for which Zambia will pay dearly.
Mr Changala charged that the ruling had declared Zambia as an economic black sheep in the sub Sahara region.
“Judge Wood’s ruling is a stain on the rule of law in Zambia. This is a ruling that characterises Zambia as a risk and unsafe destination for investment by the Zambian judiciary. Who are we to question this correct and timely confirmation by our judiciary?” Changala said.
He further added that a litigant could only be allowed to sue outside the appropriate forum when there was legitimate proof of oppression in the natural forum.
“I do believe this is correct in the case of LapGreen but the danger is that this ruling has potential to affect negatively our sound relation with IMF, World Bank, Africa Development Bank, and all the rating agencies around the world. The hallmark of this ruling borders on the rule of law and good governance,” he said.
He said nationalisation and expropriation of private companies belongs to socialist era and that it was totally outdated and non functional.
Mr Changala said “this cause of action on LapGreen, by Judge Wood agreeing to hear witnesses in London means the judge has acknowledged a prima facie case of nationalisation, expropriation, and the oppressiveness of the environment in Zambia for LapGreen to receive a fair trail.
“The move is as a result of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) which was setup in 1965 and the International Centre for Settling Investment Disputes (ICSID) whose main core is to compensate investors whose properties and assets are nationalised and expropriated without adequate compensation,” he said.
Mr Changala said this was so because of the manner in which the company was repossessed and how its foreign directors were humiliated and mistreated by the State in 2011.
This is a very strange case, he said in modern history the only decision known in international ligation was when Angola was at war and the Litigant was allowed to sue elsewhere despite the action being closely connected to the Angolan forum.
Judge Wood has allowed the disadvantaged owners of Zamtel to have their case heard in a neutral country instead of Zambia where they felt their witnesses would be intimidated by government forces.
LapGreen is challenging the PF government alleged unilateral decision to compulsorily acquire its 75 percent shares in Zambia.