Former Minister of Works and Supply Mike Mulongoti has aggressively criticised the Zambian police for failing to uphold court rulings in the case of the Antonio and Manuela Ventriglia vs. Finsbury Investments, which had issued a Writ of Possession to the Vetriglias to take back control of Zambezi Portland Cement.
“Zambians stand ready to fight anyone who is going to bring anarchy in the nation by not respecting and following court orders,” Mulongoti said. “I have no particular intention at a personal level to discuss this matter but what is paramount is the respect of the rule of law. No matter who is involved and the connections one has with government. Zambians, we shall fight anyone who is going to bring anarchy by refusing to respect any such court orders served on them. No matter who is involved, it doesn’t matter who it is, as long as they are defying court orders we shall fight them.”
Lawyers representing the Ventriglias today intend to meet the Attorney General Mr. Mumba Malila, who is the government’s chief legal advisor, to complain about the disregard of the law by police.
Following the order issued by the Lusaka High Court in this case, Police on the Copperbelt refused to allow the Sheriffs of Zambia and Bailiffs to enforce decision to allow the owners to take possession and defend the property of Zambezi Portland Cement Limited. The case has become particularly controversial, as Finsbury Investments is the holding company of Rajan Mahtani, the multi-millionaire financier of the ruling Patriotic Front party. Earlier in 2012, Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu also arranged for the deportation without explanation of Antonio and Manuela Ventriglia when the dispute began, creating an unfavourable reputation for the treatment of foreign investors by the Zambian government.
Mr. Mulongoti warned that those using their connection with the system to abuse the justice system of the country, time would soon catch up with them.
“I want to warn them that the wheel of justice will soon catch up with them no matter how slow they turn but it is only one day for the police officer to make such a decisive move. They should not forget that there are 99 days of a thief or criminals and one day for a police officer to make such a decisive action,” he said.