By NATION REPORTER
“I AM clean, sparkling clean. I had no personal or political interest in cancelling the Mwombezhi Resources mining exploration licence,” Mines and Mineral Development Minister Paul Kabyswe has said.
“I did it under the recommendation of the Mining Licence Committee.” Mr Kabuswe said.
But the High Court has halted the decision and warned Mr Kabuswe that he risks being committed to prison should he ignore the court order and directive to determine an appeal against the cancellation of the licence.
When contacted over the High Court Penal Notice addressed to him, Mr Kabuswe said he was not threatened by the court order and that he was ready for the legal battle with Mwombezhi Resources.
According to Mr Kabuswe, the Mwombezhi Resources mining licence was cancelled three times by the Mining Licence Committee which he said he did not constitute.
“Why are you concerned about what the court has written to me? Am I you father or mother? Let me tell you, I am clean, sparking clean. I have never been involved in any mining scandal and I did not cancel that licence. That licence was cancelled three times by the Mining Licence Committee which I did not appoint,” Mr Kabuswe said.
The Mwombezhi Resources large-scale exploration licence was cancelled by the Ministry of Mines barely five weeks after the UPND formed government in 2021 and was re-granted to Global Development Cooperation (GDC) Consulting Zambia Limited, a company in which Slowezi Central Member of Parliament and UPND Chief Whip, Stafford Mulusa is a shareholder.
The High Court has further cautioned Mr Kabuswe that he could be liable to sequestration of his properties if he is not going to make a decision on the cancellation of the Mwombezhi Resources mining licence, which licence the Ministry of Mines has since given a new entity on the same area.
In its penal notice to Mr Kabuswe, the High Court has ordered that the Minister of Mines should determine the appeal application by Mwombezhi within 30 days from February 6th, 2023.
The High Court has stated that Mr Kabuswe would be in contempt of the court if he is not going to determine the appeal within 30 days and would therefore be liable to being committed to prison.
“It is hereby ordered and directed that the Mnister of Mines and Minerals Development should determine the applicants (Mwombezhi) appeal (against the cancellation of the mining exploration licence) lodged before the Minister’s office on 3rd January, 2022 within 30 days from 6th February, 2023. If you, the within named Minister of Mines and Mineral Development by your servants or agents or whatsoever otherwise acting disobey the whole or any part of this Order, you may be held to be in contempt of court and liable to committal to prison or sequestration of your assets, the High Court Penal Notice to Mr Kabuswe reads.
Last week, Mr Mulusa claimed that the Mwombezhi Resources mining licence was cancelled by the Patriotic Front (PF) but records reveal that in fact the licence was cancelled in October, 2021.
According to Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) records, Mr Mulusa of National Registration Card number 200335/24/1 is a shareholder, holding 7,000 ordinary shares.
Mwombezhi Resources immediately appealed against the cancellation to Mr Kabuswe who on on 26th April, 2022 wrote to the company informing its management that the appeal was under consideration.
Mr Kabuswe in the letter apologised to Mwombezhi Resources for the delay in responding to the appeal, explaining that the delay was caused by the suspension of Cadastre System and the appointment of the Mining Tribunal.
“I wish to inform you that your appeal (against the cancellation of the mining licence) is under active consideration. We however sincerely apologise for the delay in responding to your letter. The delay was as a result of the suspension of the Cadastre System and the appointment of the Mining Tribunal. We shall shortly get in touch with you as almost all systems are in place,” Mr Kabuswe said.