10 Jun 2013 11:20
By Carike Freygang
WALVIS BAY, 10 JUN (NAMPA) ? Illegal mining activities within the Namib Naukluft Park are allegedly costing Government a loss of an estimated N.dollars 90 million in royalties.
Nampa has it on good authority that the company carrying out the operations has not been paying royalties to the State since 1993.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) could, however, not shed any light on this matter by late Monday afternoon.
The quarry mines stones, and is situated some 20km east from Walvis Bay within the Namib Naukluft Park.
It was opened in the early 1980s under the regime of the South West Africa (SWA) Government.
The mine was then put on lease by the SWA Government to a South African company, Herma Brothers (Pty) Ltd, who then renewed the lease of the quarry from MET on 19 October 1993.
A Nampa source close to the investigation team said the quarry was continued to be leased on the condition, amongst others, that the company (Herma Brothers) pay the State royalties of N.dollars 1 per cubic metre and adhere to all park regulations as indicated on the enclosed park permit.
After being in business for almost 10 years, the owner of Herma Brothers passed away in the late 1990s.
The business was then allegedly taken over by his son-in-law who is the owner of Namibia Construction Hans-Peter Schulz.
However, it is being speculated that Namibia Construction did not inform MET of the new developments and continued doing business as usual.
Nevertheless, Namibia Construction applied to the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on 19 October 1999 for a permit to use explosives at the quarry as per Government requirements.
The company stated in a letter to NamPol, of which Nampa is in possession off, that they bought the quarry from Herma Brothers.
However, it surfaced recently that MET was under the impression that Namibia Construction was leasing the quarry from Herma Brothers.
It is being alleged that Namibia Construction requested NamPol to change all the blasting and transporting permits, licences and certificates and transfer it from Herma Brothers to Namibia Construction.
Such a letter can only be sent to NamPol either by the MET or MME.
According to Nampa?s source, it is has now come to light that these regulations set forward by MET was not fully adhered to by both companies - Herma Brothers and Namibia Construction.
Contacted for comment, the Director of Parks and Wildlife Management in the MET, Colgar Sikopo asked this reporter to rather contact the MME for comment on the matter.
No one within the MME could respond to this reporter by Monday 16h00.
On his part, Schulz, who is also the director of Namibia Construction, expressed shock at the allegations, saying it is harsh.
He told this agency on Monday that MET officials have visited the site for the past 14 years on a yearly basis and no problem was detected.
Schulz then wanted to know how big the mining hole must be for them to owe Government N.dollars 90 million.
He added that they have been paying Value Added Tax (VAT) all along.