alexa High Court supports Najib Balala move to cancel mining firm licence - Daily Nation

High Court supports Najib Balala move to cancel mining firm licence

Friday March 20 2015

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala addressing journalists on January 29, 2014. A report by a Canada-based think tank, which names Kenya the worst country on the continent in mining investment attractiveness, has been dismissed by the government. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VINCENT AGOYA
By VINCENT AGOYA
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The High Court has ruled that Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala was right to cancel a licence issued to mining firm Cortec Ltd as it was acquired irregularly.

In a ruling Friday, Justice Onesmus Mutungi stated the firm acquired the licence without following the right procedure.

The judge said the act by the Commissioner of Mining to issue the licence to the firm amounted to abuse of office.

Cortec had sued Mr Balala for cancelling a licence issued to the firm to mine niobium at Mrima Hills in Kwale.

At one point, Cortec Country Director Jacob Juma claimed that Mr Balala had demanded an Sh80 million bribe from the company.

The company had argued that the decision to cancel the licence was unlawful and that it would lose $600 billion (Sh53 trillion) in investments.

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The company said it had obtained approval from the National Environmental Management Authority to mine at a cost of Sh13 million.

Other approvals had been given by the Kenya Forest Service and the County Council of Kwale when the minister revoked the licence, said Cortec-Kenya, adding it had not breached the Mining Act in any way.

Mr Balala said in his defence that the special mining licence given to Cortec was illegal and that he had a duty to protect public property by revoking it alongside 43 others.