The Daure Daman Traditional Authority at Uis is reportedly running a consultancy agency for land use in the area, and charging potential miners for consent letters for mining-related activities.
According to the rate card, the fees for these services are N$20 000 for locals and N$50 000 for international applicants for mining licence consent letters, and N$10 000 for Exclusive Prospecting Licences (EPL), with renewals costing N$20 000.
During a visit by the parliamentary committee on natural resources at Uis, it was found that Xinfeng Investment was charged sitting fees of between N$400 and N$500 by the traditional authority per member to consider their application.
Xinfeng operations manager Frank Li denied the allegations but admitted to donating chairs and papers, and paying a service rate of N$10 000 per month, as stated in the agreement.
However, parliamentary committee chairperson Tjekero Tweya demanded that Xinfeng submit all documents related to their application for exploration rights in the area.
“We need to deal with these allegations that they are being paid, and this is why they are not doing anything. We do not shy away from those allegations. It’s our responsibility to report back to parliament what the issues are,” said Tweya.
The traditional authority’s councillor could not provide clear answers and documentary proof, and a second meeting was scheduled for Wednesday but was cancelled at the last minute.
A mining official said there is no law prohibiting traditional authorities from running consultancy agencies and charging fees for their services.
He expressed concern that with any such arrangements, it is important to ensure transparency and accountability to prevent any possible conflicts of interest or corruption.