- Total Link and Union Link have since filed applications at the Mombasa High Court seeking to wriggle out of the case.
- In total, 4MB is seeking over Sh8.5 billion from Misnak, but the equipment is no longer in the country.
- Misnak insists that it has been irregularly dragged into the suit, as 4MB did not comply with court procedures.
South Sudan’s efforts to tap into the lucrative gold industry have hit a snag as two foreign firms — Israeli-owned 4MB Mining and London-registered Misnak International — fight in Kenya over prospecting equipment for the multimillion-dollar venture.
The problem is that the equipment has already been reshipped to Dubai’s Port Jebel Ali, away from Mombasa High Court’s jurisdiction.
The South Sudan government of President Salva Kiir had been trying to control the multimillion dollar mining sector — which is mainly in the hands of illegal miners — and had entered into a joint venture with a Panama-registered Israeli company, 4MB Mining Limited, run by Israeli businessman Yoram Moussaieff.
The Israeli firm was expecting to mine at least 30 million ounces of gold from the Luri Basin, 55km from Juba. At the current global prices, the gold 4MB is targeting could fetch about $36.7 billion (Sh3.767 trillion).
4MB had hired London-based logistics firm Misnak International to source, buy and ship prospecting equipment to Juba on or before March 17.
The aim was to benefit from tax breaks from the South Sudan government. The equipment landed at the port of Mombasa on March 4, after 4MB honoured an invoice from Misnak. But before Misnak could ship the equipment to Juba, it sent further invoices to 4MB demanding further fees, which 4MB refused to honour leading to a stand-off, even with the March 17 delivery deadline fast approaching.
After more than one month of back and forth between the two firms, 4MB opted to file a suit against Misnak at the Mombasa High Court.
The Israeli firm also listed Total Link Logistics, Union Link Logistics and Freight Forwarders Limited — three firms that helped clear and store the equipment in Mombasa — as interested parties.
Total Link and Union Link have since filed applications at the Mombasa High Court seeking to wriggle out of the case.
But the suit has now taken a new twist, as 4MB claims that Misnak has colluded with Union Link and Freight Forwarders to ship the equipment to Dubai’s Port Jebel Ali, a matter that could trigger a diplomatic row between Kenya and Juba.
4MB wants the High Court to order for release of the mining equipment, and for Misnak to bear all storage costs accumulated, compensation for the delay, and taxes that the South Sudan government will levy on the equipment which will now certainly be delivered long after the March 17 window.
In total, 4MB is seeking over Sh8.5 billion from Misnak, but the equipment is no longer in the country.