Chitando sued

MINES and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando has been taken to court for allegedly delaying issuing a coke export licence to Hwange Coal Gasification Company (Pvt) Ltd (Hwange).

The company wants the High Court to issue the licence.

Hwange, which has been exporting coke for over a decade now, has established a good reputation in Zambia, Congo, and South Africa, among other countries.

The court heard that Hwange has been renewing its export permit with the ministry annually.

This year the company began the process on July 6 since the licence was due to expire on July 25.

According to the company’s marketing manager, Li Zhanjun, the application for renewal was submitted to the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) Harare office which approved it on July 13.

Following the approval by MMCZ, the metallurgy department also sanctioned the application after which Hwange Coal Gasification Company was given an invoice for the annual permit renewal valued $200 000.

The application was then forwarded to the Mines ministry which advised the company to come back on July 20.

After making several visits to the ministry’s offices, Hwange was informed on July 29 that the only thing holding back the issuance of the coke export licence was the minister’s signature since all other functionaries had already approved it.

A follow up visit was made at Chitando’s offices on August 3 where Hwange was told that there was an error in their application, which ought to be changed, but they were never adequately briefed about the anomaly.

The court heard that since then the Mines minister has not acted on Hwange’s application.

“The respondent continues to trade in a veil of secrecy and the applicant remains in the dark as to why it is being denied the annual export permit and especially after complying with all the laid down procedures for renewing an annual export permit.

“I contend that the respondent has failed to discharge his duties as contemplated in the Act in a fair, justifiable and within a reasonable time. The respondent’s actions are clearly not supported at law and ought to be condemned with the contempt it deserves,” the company said.

Source – dailynews

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