By Andante Okanya
Mineral exploration company Katwe Geothermal Power Project Limited, has petitioned court, alleging that Government has with malicious intent declined to renew its licence.
On June 6, the company filed an application for judicial review at the civil division of the High Court in Kampala. It contends that it has fulfilled the requisite paperwork.
Judicial review is conducted by the High Court to scrutinise proceedings plus decisions taken by subordinate courts, inferior tribunals or Government bodies.
The company states that it fulfilled the law regulating mining and applied for the licence three months in advance before expiry of the current licence which is due on June 27.
Government’s chief legal advisor the Attorney General (AG), and the Commissioner Geological Surveys and Mines, are listed as the respondents.
Through Kyazze and Company Advocates, the company is demanding that court coerces government to renew the licence.
“It is in the interest of justice that a writ of mandamus issue compelling the second respondent (commissioner) to execute the statutory mandate to renew the applicant’s licence.
The application is supported by the affidavit of the company’s managing director Henry Lwetabe. He states that the company’s current licence was granted on May 30, 2011 for a period of three years.
Lwetabe notes that the initial licence was granted to Lupampa Muzira, who then legally transferred it to Katwe Geothermal in a transfer instrument dated March 23, 2012.
Lwetabe states that this year on May 28 when he inquired from the commissioner about the status of the application on the renewal, he was informed that a court order had been obtained on April 24, blocking the renewal.
He states that he explained to the commissioner the implication of the court order, which was limited to the acquisition of shares in the company, and not its operational licence.
Lwetabe laments that government’s action amounts to denying the company’s shareholders their constitutional right to practice their profession and carry out a lawful business.
Government is yet to respond. A hearing date is yet to be scheduled.
Mineral explorer petitions over licence renewal