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Issue 265 - 08 November 2013

UK: Transparency legislation due in 2014

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Ecobank chairman Kolapo Lawson was forced to stand down in late October after concerns were raised about corporate governance. Media reports said Lawson agreed to go after board members meeting in Ghana decided his departure was
necessary to restore confidence among customers and shareholders following a battle over governance issues. The Nigerian central bank wrote to the pan-African lender in April, notifying it of Lawson’s failure to repay $8.79m (N1.4bn) in debts sold to state-owned Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria 


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For the first time in many years, the hard pressed Algerian government is considering an increase in electric power tariffs – a policy certain to meet intense opposition at a politically sensitive time. At the same time, the national gas and power utility Sonelgaz intends to raise investment finance through a domestic bond and is also contemplating an internal restructuring programme. Speaking at Sonelgaz’s general meeting in Algiers on 28 September, the company’s long-standing president director-general Noureddine Bouterfa told the assembled directors, managers and employee representatives that they needed to work with the state to implement gradual prices rises that “will not bring social cohesion into question”.

Algeria
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Kenya has been a significant bellwether for international investors and an example of the increasing need to invest in community engagement and avoid short cuts in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) procedures. As one Kenyan specialist told the October 2019 AIX: Nairobi conference, a power developer could be greeted initially with a welcome dance or by herders carrying Kalashnikovs – investors needed to be suitably prepared .

Kenya
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Washington-based social impact project developer C-Quest Capital (CQC) has secured significant new finance for its deployment of clean cooking stoves in sub-Saharan Africa, in the latest sign of growing interest in the sector.

Issue 336 - 08 December 2016

Liberia: New petroleum law

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Liberia has enacted the new Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Law, which requires competitive bidding for all petroleum contracts, and that all oil companies declare their true owners. The interim management team (IMT) of the National Oil Company of Liberia (Nocal) has welcomed the new law, describing it as “a milestone achievement for the country’s emerging oil & gas sector”.

Liberia
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The latest round of intrigue in South Africa has seen the influential energy ministry deputy director-general Ompi Aphane suspended for unstated issues related to compliance. In an interview with EE Publishers investigative editor Chris Yelland, energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said that Aphane had been given three days to respond to questions but failed to meet the deadline.

South Africa
Issue 337 - 22 December 2016

Guinea: Steinmetz under house arrest

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Beny Steinmetz has been placed under house arrest in Israel amid an investigation into his BSG Resources’ acquisition of rights to the Simandou iron ore mining project.Israeli police detained Steinmetz on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. A court on 19 December released him to house arrest for two weeks on bail of 100m shekels ($26m). His Israeli and French passports were confiscated and he was barred from leaving Israel for 180 days.

Guinea
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Eskom lost another senior figure on 10 January as chairman Jabu Mabuza resigned, ostensibly because Eskom failed to live up to a promise made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 11 December that there would be no load-shedding between 17 December and at least 13 January. The promise followed unprecedented stage 6 load-shedding, meaning 6GW of demand went unmet, which caused Ramaphosa to return early from a trip to Egypt.

South Africa
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Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (Tanesco) has sparked a storm of protest after the leaking of a letter to Symbion Power saying it was “ceasing negotiations” over a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 120MW Ubungo plant, despite having signed the document last December. Symbion said in a 30 May statement that Ubongo, where US President Barack Obama outlined his Power Africa initiative in July 2013, was operating under a PPA signed on 10 December by Tanesco managing director Felchesmi Mramba. “There is no question whatsoever that the PPA is a valid and binding document,” the company said.

Tanzania
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An independent lawyer appointed by Eskom has cleared chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer of allegations of corruption, dishonesty, conflict of interest and abuse of power, the utility announced on 15 April. The lawyer submitted his findings to Eskom on 4 April, having begun his investigation on 20 March. Allegations relate to contracts signed with Black and Veatch to design the 4,800MW Kusile coal power plant, and Stefanutti Stocks, in which he was shareholder.

South Africa
Issue 399 - 13 September 2019

Angola: Aenergia contracts revoked

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Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water has notified Angolan company Aenergia SA of its intention to terminate contracts for the installation, technical assistance and maintenance of power plants in the country. A presidential order on 23 August gave the ministry permission to terminate the contracts, settle accounts with Aenergia, take possession of equipment and conclude agreements with GE to ensure contract implementation. The contracts, which were financed through a loan to the government by GE Capital Ltd, were approved by the ministry in July and August 2017.

Angola
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The Cyrenaica-based government of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni is continuing efforts to establish its own oil sales in the international market, and to prevent buyers from engaging with the Tripoli-based management of National Oil Corporation (NOC). However, despite optimistic claims in early November that the eastern NOC had succeeded in closing a sale, and that a tanker to lift the crude was two days’ sailing from the Marsa Al-Harigah terminal, it has so far failed to overcome resistance from the international community and internal political barriers to achieving this ambition.

Libya
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Japan’s Hitachi Ltd on 28 September agreed to pay $19m to settle charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by inaccurately recording improper payments to South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) in relation to the award of the combined $5.6bn boiler contracts for the 4,764MW Medupi and 4,800MW Kusile coal power plants.The revelations included in the SEC complaint have led to calls for legal action to be taken against South African group of companies Chancellor House and the ANC, as well as increased scrutiny of the controversial nuclear tender and Chancellor House’s involvement in the upcoming coal baseload independent power producer (IPP) procurement programme.

South Africa
Free

Investor interest in Madagascar picked up when companies were attracted by the island state’s potential for power sector developments, as former president Hery Rajaonarimampianina hosted an influential donor and investor conference in 2016.The going has since proven tough for many investors, as early movers have run into payment issues with malfunctioning state utility Jiro sy Rany Malagasy (Jirama) and the administration has proved unpredictable in renegotiating power purchase agreements (PPAs).

Madagascar
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Sceptics looking for evidence that Chinese companies do not always follow the rules of international business need look no further than the recent list of firms suspended from doing business with the World Bank Group (WBG), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other multilateral development banks. The bank’s list of disbarments contains dozens of Chinese companies, many of them inter-related, banned for corruption in African and other markets in the latest actions against those caught bribing officials.