Shoprite to Join Zambian Shareholders’ Case With Kitwe Suit

Shoprite Holdings Ltd., Africa’s biggest grocer, is attempting to join a suit it brought against Zambian shareholders to another case after a Lusaka judge dismissed its application to cancel their ownership.

Shoprite’s application to the Lusaka High Court was an abuse of process, Judge Flavia Chishimba ruled, dismissing it with costs. An ongoing similar case where the company is suing a former Zambian director in a Kitwe court for what it says was the illegal sale of shares could lead to conflicting judgments if the Lusaka case proceeded, Chishimba said.

Shoprite “is in the process to join shareholders to a current case in Kitwe High Court,” Sarita Van Wyk, a Cape Town-based spokeswoman for the company, said in reply to e-mailed questions yesterday.

The company claims its former Zambian director, Lewis Mosho, illegally sold 2.7 million shares, worth about 439 million rand ($42 million) on the Johannesburg bourse, to mainly Zambian pension funds. The Kitwe case is against Mosho, while the Lusaka suit was against the local pension funds of companies including Standard Chartered Plc, Standard Bank Group Ltd., Sandvik AB, and SABMiller Plc.

Chishimba twice postponed hearings for Shoprite’s case against its Zambian shareholders, as they tried unsuccessfully to reach a settle outside of court. The case was dismissed in a Dec. 10 ruling.

The case is Shoprite Holdings Ltd. and Shoprite Checkers Ltd. against Saturnia Regna Pension Trust Scheme and 24 others.

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