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Court clears firm to export iron ore held at port

Times Tower. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Times Tower. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

An iron-ore trading company got an early reprieve after it was allowed to load its 55,000 metric tonnes of the mineral to a vessel for export to India.

Justice Eric Ogola on Thursday directed the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to ensure that the loading of Samruddha Resources Kenya Ltd's (SRKL) iron-ore to MV Densa Cougar for export goes ahead.

The judge also directed that the vessel be cleared to sail with the minerals which originate from Kishushe in Taita Taveta County without any delay or undue hindrance.

Through lawyer Sanjeev Khagram, SRKL filed an application saying KRA had without any justification withdrawn its approval for the loading of the iron ore to MV Densa Cougar for export to India.

However, when the case was mentioned today, the court was told that the loading of the minerals had commenced on Wednesday.

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Samruddha Resources had sued KRA, the Director of Criminal Investigation and the Attorney General arguing that the demurrage in respect of the vessel continued to accrue at a daily rate of Sh150,000 daily having arrived in Mombasa on October 23.

It argued that the respondents were conducting themselves in disregard of its property and fair administration action.

“Potentially, their conduct is likely to result in the petitioner being unable to fulfil its contractual delivery obligations as result in a termination of sales of the iron ore to international purchasers,” argued SRKL in its application.

The firm sought a conservatory order prohibiting the respondents from interfering with its proprietary rights or its access to their iron ore consignments currently stored at Africa Ports & Terminals Ltd (interested party) yard in Mombasa.

The company also wanted a conservatory order to compel KRA to release the export entry number and permit of loading the vessel.

It sought the orders pending hearing and determination of its application inter-parties which has now been marked as settled.

According to SRKL, the respondents are acting under the guise of a multi-agency team that is not an entity anchored in law, thus conducting themselves illegally.

“The petitioner has all relevant export documents including the license issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining,” part of the application stated.

The company further argued that DCI officers who were conducting an inquiry have informed it that they have concluded the process and cleared the matter hence loading of the minerals can proceed.

According to SRKL, its business and reputation is adversely affected and stands to sustain a substantial loss.

In his supporting affidavit, Mr Shivraj Jadhav, a director of SRKL, said the company previously exported two consignments of cargo from the Africa Ports &Terminals Yard at Liwatoni without any intrusion or interference.

He further said that SRKL is a significant contributor to government revenues by way of duties and has traded ethically and professionally.

The case will be mentioned on December 13 to confirm compliance of the orders.

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