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Alweendo denies mines ministry graft

2022-10-21  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Alweendo denies mines ministry graft

Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo yesterday dismissed corruption allegations at the ministry, saying if there is graft, it is not sanctioned by him or the system.

In a widely-shared social media post, Alweendo has been accused of having benefited from the N$50 million bribe allegedly paid by a Chinese company which is involved in lithium mining.

The purpose of the bribe was allegedly to block the renewal of the Exclusive Prospecting  licence (EPL) for Karlowa Mining Enterprises (Pty) Ltd, belonging to Timoteus Mushuna, in favour of Orange River Mining (Pty).

Alweendo yesterday denied pocketing anything from the reported N$50 million.

“Is there corruption in how we issue EPLs? Probably there is. Maybe there is something that we might be aware of, but if it is, it is not something that is sanctioned by me or the system,” he stated.

Alweendo made these remarks while addressing journalists following media reports that ministry officials, including himself, were stealing people’s exploration licences and giving them to their relatives and proxies.

He said one of the concerns he discovered after taking over the ministry in 2019 was the length of time it took to issue EPLs, together with the accusation that the wrong persons had been granted licences.

“We put a moratorium on awarding these licences. We put a moratorium for six months. The whole idea was to investigate whether there were loopholes in the system. We did find something, of course, which was bureaucracy. We have since improved our systems, and it shouldn’t take more than six months to get a yes or no.

“We also started to implement the law as strictly as possible because the law says you can only get the licence if you have got technical skills to do exploration, and also have the money to do that,” he added.

This was necessary for the ministry to start implementing these laws so that the country could start benefiting from its resources, as many people would get the licence and then won’t do anything to it in the three years, a process the minister said led to many losing their licences.

“This then angered many, in fact many people who take us to court is over the non-renewal of their licences,” he said. 

Furthermore, Alweendo used the opportunity to urge ministry employees to exercise the utmost restraint in order to preserve public confidence.

“Leading a ministry as important as this, we need to be stewards of the resources that we are managing. As stewards of these resources, we need to have the public trust that we are managing these resources in the best interest of the public,” he observed. 


2022-10-21  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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