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Mines Minister misses High Court deadline in oil licence case

October 03, 2022

 Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo, in his official capacity, missed a deadline to file an answering affidavit in a matter where his actions were deemed “unlawful” and “unfair” after dismissing Red Soil Energy and Mineral Exploration Company’s application for oil exploration. 

The mining company recently approached the High Court seeking an order to review and set aside Alweendo’s decision to deny the company a mining licence in January and March last year. This resulted in the High Court instructing Alweendo, in his official capacity as a respondent, to file an affidavit on or before 5 September 2022, but to date has not done so despite constant reminders. 

Government attorney Freddy Kadhila approached the High Court this week seeking condonation on the basis that the Minister had been out of office attending energy conferences and at the time of filing a status report, the Minister was in the USA with official business. 

Kadhila stated that the minister only returnes to Namibia today (Monday). He has since requested that the Minister be allowed to file a replying affidavit on 10 October, that both parties file a joint report on 28 October and that the matter returns for a case management hearing conference on 31 October. 

The Mines ministry’s troubles with Red Soil started when the Minister reportedly declined the company’s application for petroleum exploration licence over Blocks 2512A and a portion of Block 2612A because the company does not meet the requirements and its failure to demonstrate technical and financial capability to carry out exploration operations. 

The company’s Managing Director, Kaura Kaura, in court papers filed at the High Court, made damning allegations against the Mines and Energy ministry’s Petrol Commissioner Maggy Shino, who he says informed him that his company was compliant with all the requirements of the ministry, but that the blocks are reserved for “politically connected people”. 

Kaura, represented by Patrick Kauta, also claims that Shino instructed him to withdraw his company’s application and apply for “any of the blocks west to those Red Soil energy and mineral exploration applied for”. 

It is further Kaura’s testimony that he refused the suggestion and found it downright improper. 

A Geologist by profession, Kaura has since attached alleged screenshots of missed WhatsApp calls from Shino. 

“I started receiving emissaries purportedly sent by the Minister and Shino not to approach the court for review, but rather attend to their office to settle the matter. The WhatsApp calls from Shino continued. The company’s legal practitioner on record then advised that I call back Shino and record our telephonic conversation.  

“I was able to do this and had the conversation transcribed. One of the annexures illustrate how Shino was discouraging the company to file a review application and must consider what he calls a fully-fledged option available to accommodate everyone,” Kaura claims in his affidavit.

 

The National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) has also been cited as a respondent, but did not oppose the application.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 05 October 2022 23:55