The Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, has vehemently denied allegations of benefiting from a N$50 million bribery scandal in kickbacks and unduly awarded mining licenses to undeserving companies.
Alweendo informed journalists during a briefing that he did not receive a single cent, saying his only role in awarding licenses of any nature is merely to issue award letters to successful applicants by recommendation of experts, describing such allegations as malicious and devoid of any truth.
The allegations involve a technical advisor in Alweendo's office, Ralph Muyamba, who allegedly secured bribes to reject the renewal of a mining license issued to Karolwa Mining Enterprises and unduly awarded it to a company owned by his cousin, Peter Karel Shifwaku, known as Orange River Mining.
The licence, owned by Karolwa Mining Enterprises, has been lying un-used, prompting him to award it to new applicants, Orange River Mining, who secured the N$ 50 million from Chinese investors to acquire the new licence.
Karolwa Mining Enterprises, now claims the bribes were meant to block the renewal of its lucrative licence as per norm, and instead corruptly award it to Muyambas' cousin's firm, Orange River Mining.
Muyamba has since resigned, prompting Alweendo to approach the Anti-Corruption Commission to proceed with investigations against him if he, Muyamba, indeed, corruptly awarded the mining licences, largely known as EPL's, to his relative.
Alweendo also pledged to introduce new reforms, including online applications to minimise the involvement of officials in awarding licences, appoint a diverse team of experts to guide in the awarding of licences, and conduct an independent audit on the bureaucracy in the awarding of all licences.
A moratorium on the export of lithium ores has also been implemented by him following allegations of non-compliance by a Chinese company, Xinfeng Investment, which is also fingered allegedly for paying bribes to Muyamba and mines commissioner, Erasmus Shivolo.