Kenyans | 23 March 2021
Jacob Juma’s company loses Ksh300 billion to Kenyan govt
By Lilian Wamathai
Kenya is set to receive Ksh300 billion after it won a case against Cortec Mining Kenya Ltd, associated with slain businessman Jacob Juma and Stirling Limited for revoking the mining license of niobium and rare earth minerals.
Niobium is a component in high-strength steel and rare earth. They are a group of 17 elements used in consumer electronics and magnets for electric vehicle motors.
The Washington D.C based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes dismissed the claims made by the two companies in a ruling on March 19, 2021.
Cortec Mining had sought Ksh200 billion against the Kenyan government for the cancellation of a mining project at Mrima Hills in Kwale County.
The firm claimed that the government nationalized the project in August 2013 after they had spent six years and millions of dollars exploring and developing.
They accused Kenya of dispossessing them of their investments and breaching the UK-Kenya bilateral Investment Treaty’s obligation to treat them fairly and equitably.
"The Ad Hoc Committee further rejected all other claims or contentions of the parties. this means that the Republic of Kenya will seek to recover from the claimant the amount of ksh300 billion," ruled the ICSID.
Cortec firm said they owned four investments connected to the project the main one being a special mining license 351(SML351) awarded to them in March 2013.
The Arbitral Tribunal Said that the license was issued contrary to the laws of Kenya and international laws which disqualified the investment from protection by the Treaty or ICSID.
Kenya won the first case in 2013 but the firm dissatisfied with the ruling appealed with the secretary-general in 2019. Cortec Mining Kenya then partly owned by Canadian-listed Pacific Wildcat had accused the then Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala of unfairly revoking their license.
Juma then alleged that the CS was seeking a Ksh80 million bribe. Balala denied the allegations saying his actions were made in the public interest.
The businessman, who was killed in 2016, owned a 30 percent stake in Cortec Mining Kenya while Pacific Wildcat Resources, a company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, owned the remainder through Stirling Ltd and Cortec Pty Ltd, which are based in the UK.