Mines and Energy minister Tom Alweendo has called on members of the public who have knowledge of cases where his ministry’s officials own licences through proxies to report such cases to his office or to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for investigation.
He made this call in parliament on Thursday while responding to Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Vipua Muharukua’s suggestion that his ministry’s officials might own licences by proxy.
“It will be wrong if ministry officials were to be involved in the selection of local partners, and in the process ending up owning licences by proxy. Not only will it be wrong, it will be illegal because the Petroleum Act prohibits ministry officials to own licences,” Alweendo told parliament.
He also explained the Petroleum Exploration Licences’s ownership practice of 5% to private Namibians and 10% to Namcor, saying Namibia currently does not have legislation on economic empowerment.
However, due to the country’s desire to encourage local participation, it has been a practice where foreign licensees are required to allocate at least 5% to local companies and 10% to Namcor - both free-carry.
“Foreign licensees are at liberty to identify local partners, and the ministry does not play any role in the process,” he stressed.
In terms of the list of local companies with shareholding in petroleum licences and the natural owners of such local companies, Alweendo said the ministry keeps a register of companies that have been awarded licences, and the public is allowed to view the register at a fee of N$300.
Also, on the issue of licensees who are in default with their financial commitments, the minister stated that as a regulator, it is the ministry’s responsibility to ensure that all licence holders comply with the provisions of the petroleum agreements they had entered into.
Like in any system, there will be those who, during the currency of the licence, may not fully comply with the conditions attached to the licence. However, when that is detected, the licence holder is provided an opportunity to comply within a certain time period, failing which the licence may be cancelled.
The Petroleum Act also does not make any provision where anyone can give a waiver to licensees who are in default with their obligations.