Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources: DCEC clears Morupule Station B Project of Corruption Allegation

source: Republic of Botswana (9/5/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 13 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C5)8/5/09: Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources: DCEC CLEARS MORUPULE STATION B PROJECT OF CORRUPTION ALLEGATION

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has found that no corruption or malpractice was involved in the awarding of a tender to the China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) for carrying out the Morupule B. Power Station Project.

Reporting the findings of their investigation into the matter, to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, the DCEC instead found that allegations had been concocted by a rival company, after it had lost the tender for the project. According to the DCEC:

“The whole saga emanates from DEC-Zelan who had sought a joint venture with some Batswana companies over the project. After they lost the tender they come up with some accusations which could not be substantiated in an attempt to cause confusion under the pretext of corruption. We have totally not found any element of corrupt practices in the process refer to the BPC [Botswana Power Corporation] report dated 25th November, 2008.”

The allegations against the awarding of the tender to CNEEC surfaced in November 2008 newspaper article that cited a leaked document in which it was falsely reported that CNEEC was not registered in its home country, China, as a category “A” company, that is a company with sufficient capacity to undertake a project of the magnitude of Morupule B Power.

The DCEC report on the contrary confirms that “there is no doubt that CNEEC was registered under category A with [the] Chinese government in 2004”

In this respect the DCEC dismissed the further allegation that the Botswana Power Corporation technical committee was somehow intimidated into awarding the contract to CNEEC despite the Minister responsible having supposedly passed on to the committee the allegations that the company was not qualified.

The same article further reported that the CNEEC had failed to raise funds for the project in response to the tender as required. The DCEC investigation, however, confirms that: “the issue of raising funds for the project with financial institution was a non-starter since it was not one of the requirements.”

In its finding the DCEC also dismissed as unfounded the article’s allegation that the company had been unfairly allowed to increase their bid after the closing of tenders.

According to the DCEC such price escalations as did occur arose from issues raised by the BPC, which resulted in the project being delayed. The DCEC thus concluded that “obviously with that lapse price escalation was inevitable and under normal circumstances to be should be expected.”

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