… Denies turning blind eye to ‘big fish’ involved
By Elvis Muraranganda
THE Anti-Corruption Commission has finally started a probe into claims by a coastal salt mining company that it has been dubiously cheated out of a salt pan by senior government officials and a cameraman of a local broadcaster.
The anti-graft body in 2013 declined to investigate the matter, claiming that it was fraud and not corruption, and further advised the aggrieved company, Cape Cross Salt (CSS), to approach the Namibian police.
Earlier this year, ACC Director Paulus Noa again stressed that there is a difference between fraud and corruption, and dismissed claims by the CCS that it was turning a blind eye on the matter, because it involved so-called “big fish”.
However, on Tuesday, Noa told Confidente that the ACC has in fact been investigating the matter since it was reported “sometime ago”.
This is contrary to a 30 October 2013 letter, in which the ACC’s coastal office stated that it had declined to investigate the matter.
It is further understood that the ACC has summoned Mining Commissioner Erasmus Shivolo, Diamond Commissioner Kennedy Hamutenya, Mines and Energy Permanent Secretary Simeon Negumbo for questioning, and to collect statements regarding the matter.
The ACC has already spoken to businessman Mikka Asino and cameraman Lameck Mwanyangapo, regarding the matter.
“It is not true that we have only started to do investigations now. This matter has been with us for some time now, and we have been investigating,” explained Noa.
“I cannot tell you the names of the people that we are going to talk to, because I do not have the list here in front of me, but all I can say is that we have been investigating.”
Asked whether the ACC will be at liberty to release the names to the public, he said, “No, we cannot do that.”
When contacted for comment, Amutenya did not deny or confirm whether he has indeed been summoned by the ACC, before referring all queries to Noa.
“I cannot say anything. Why don’t you ask the ACC? The best person to talk to about this would be Noa,” Hamutenya said.
Negumbo’s personal assistant told Confidente that he is out of the country and would return later in the week, she directed that questions be sent to the office.
Shivolo did not return messages left with his secretary.
CCS claim to have lost the right to extract rock and coarse salt from the salt pan situated, 50km north of Henties Bay, after Asino and Mwanyangapo tricked its employees.
CCS director and founder, Petrus Iimbondi, has in sworn declaration, seen by Confidente, accused Asino and Mwanyangapo, of stealing the salt pan in 2006, after they were sent to deliver donated mining equipment on behalf of Founding President Sam Nujoma.
Asino and Mwanyangapo are accused of crafting an agreement between their company, Cape Cross Namibia Investment (CCNI), and Iimbondi’s workers, under the Cape Cross Salt Employees’ Equity Trust, which gave them the mining rights to the salt pan on a silver platter.
CCNI obtained a handsome 96 percent share, while the workers split the remaining four percent among themselves.
It is now understood that it is under this strongly disputed that CCNI gave Gecko Namibia the right and permission to mine in the area earlier this year.
However, Confidente understands that Gecko Namibia has abandoned work on the salt pan, after CCS registered a case of theft with the police.
The salt pan contains 330 million tons of natural rock salt, of which Gecko holds 55 million tons in three mining claims. It aims to produce one million terapascal of chemical-grade salt.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015