By Elvis Muraranganda
A case of theft has been opened at Walvis Bay in which mining company, Gecko Namibia is being accused of mining salt in a pan belonging to Cape Cross Salt (CCS), which itself is part of a protracted rights’ dispute.
Gecko this week maintained that it has done nothing wrong and is not aware of illegally extracting rock and coarse salts, 50 kilometres north of Henties Bay before stressing that it wishes not to engage on the matter any further.
According to the company’s website the salt pan contains 330 million tonnes of natural rock salt of which Gecko has 55 million tonnes in three mining claims. It aims at producing 1 million terapascal of chemical-grade salt. So far it has completed exploration drilling of 35 core boreholes, and also completed a pre-feasibility study and finalised a geological resource model.
Last week, CCS director and founder Petrus Iimbondi reported Gecko Namibia to the police, testifying that the company is carrying out its mining activities in his area of jurisdiction illegally.
According to a sworn declaration, seen by Confidente, Iimbondi charged that another company Cape Cross Namibia Investment (CCNI) owned by Mikka Asino and Lameck Mwanyangapo gave Gecko Namibia the permission to mine the salt.
In 2006, Founding President Sam Nujoma had sent Asino and Mwanyangapo to deliver mining equipment to Iimbondi as a donation from his office following a visit to the pan
However, it turned out that Asino and Mwanyangapo ended up carving an agreement between CCNI and Iimbondi’s workers under the Cape Cross Salt Employees’ Equity Trust, giving them, on a silver platter, the rights to mine the salt there. CCNI obtained a handsome 96 percent in the partnership while a mere four percent was to be shared among the workers.
It is now understood that it is under this strongly-disputed marriage that CCNI gave Gecko Namibia the right and permission to mine in the area.
“People still (continue) stealing salt under the different agreements entered into by Asiana and Mwanyangapo,” Iimbondi said under oath.
“The reason why I am opening a theft case against Gecko Namibia is that they are mining in my area of jurisdiction without my permission to do that.”
“They have trespassed by using the premises of CCS and using my property for example renovating my houses and my company’s workshop.”
He continued: “CCS and I did not give permission to Gecko Namibia to use my company’s premises without my consent. I request police investigations as well as prosecution into this matter.”
Asino could not be reached for comment as his mobile went answered but Mwanyangapo challenged Iimbondi to approach the courts with his claims.
“I am not a small child and I cannot be bullied like this. They must go to the court and then the court will give an interdict and the whole thing will stop,” explained Mwanyangapo.
“This thing has been going on for some time now. Why don’t they get it right? The courts are there.”
However, Mwanyangapo indicated that he is not aware of the latest case opened against Gecko Namibia.
Iimbondi has in the past also sought Nujoma’s intervention, recorded in a letter from as far back as November 2007 addressed to the former President’s senior special assistant John Nauta.
When contacted for comment a furious Nauta denied any knowledge of the ongoing feud between Iimbondi, Asino and Mwanyangapo yelling: “You know where they stay! Go and talk to those people you are mentioning there!”
“I was not part of any meeting and I do not see what this has to do with us. Why are you coming to me?”
Also, Iimbondi had previously reported the matter to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which in response declined to investigate the matter advising him to approach the police.
“The predicate offence alleged here is fraud which is within the mandate of the Namibian police to investigate,” ACC’s Nelius Becker wrote to back to Iimbondi at the time.
This week ACC director, Paulus Noa told Confidente that contrary to popular belief, the anti-graft body has not shied away from investigating the case. He added that there is a difference between corruption and fraud.
Iimbondi has also written to President Hage Geingob for his intervention but it is now believed that no response has yet been received from the Presidency.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015