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The parastatal Central Electricity Board (CEB) issued two tenders on 18 March, requesting bidders for a total 140MW of solar PV and storage and 40MW of small renewable energy (RE) hybrid projects. The tenders come less than a month after CEB renewable energy and strategic projects manager Chavan Dabeedin was arrested on a charge of bribery of a public official in relation to the ‘Saint Louisgate’ scandal.


Texas-based Schlumberger Rod Lift (SRL) has agreed to pay a $160,000 fine to the US authorities to settle a 2015-16 violation of US sanctions against Sudan; the sanctions were lifted in October 2017.


Reports that Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) head Mustapha Bakkoury has fallen from grace and is under investigation for alleged management abuses have underlined the perception that the kingdom’s ambitious renewable energy (RE) programme is in trouble, confronted by delays, cost over-runs and high prices for electricity generated by the agency’s ground-breaking Noor Ouarzazate scheme.

Issue 438 - 13 May 2021

Tunisia: IMF deal inches closer


A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement to underpin a faltering economy is becoming more likely as terms are hammered out by a government terrified of being seen to be caving in to the demands of perceived powerful foreign influences and an international community keen not to be seen dictating to a government that emerged from the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ revolts as a rare functioning democracy.


Chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations, Democrat senator Karen Bass, and Republican ranking member Christopher Smith last month introduced a resolution to the House of Representatives (HoR) calling for free and fair elections in Tanzania. If passed, the resolution would give the US administration the legal basis to impose economic and other sanctions on the country.


Angolan power projects contractor Aenergy and its Portuguese owner Ricardo Leitão Machado are continuing an extensive and detailed legal campaign in the United States and United Kingdom against Luanda-based state entities and various General Electric (GE)-related businesses.


The Ministry of Hydrocarbons’ mid-May roadshow event in London was an effort to firm up international interest in a string of blocks across central DR Congo and along its eastern border. In a problematic region, one big element for success could hinge on linking any finds into export infrastructure due to be built in neighbouring Uganda.

DR Congo

The trial of former president Rupiah Banda, which opened in April, has been suspended until October. Banda was charged with abuse of office in connection with a Nigerian oil deal with the Abuja-based Sarb Energy (AE 253/26). Former energy minister Kenneth Kongo, who was testifying as a state witness, rejected claims that Banda personally benefitted from the deal.

Nigeria | Zambia
Issue 302 - 12 June 2015

Egypt: Bold sector reforms planned


President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is reviewing a new electricity law which, if approved in its present form, will introduce further substantial reforms to the sector. Sector experts consulted by African Energy did not expect him to pass the law until after the summer peak demand period, as officials are unlikely to have the capacity to deal with the proposed changes before then. Among the main reforms envisaged by the law are the unbundling of grid operator Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) from its parent company Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, and making regulator EgyptERA responsible for setting electricity tariffs.


Houston-based oil services company Parker Drilling agreed in mid-April to pay the US authorities $15.9m to settle foreign bribery charges. The company was accused of making a payment to a third party while knowing that it would be used to influence a Nigerian government panel’s decision on whether the company had broken local customs laws.


After more than a year, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has dropped an investigation into allegations that explorer Soma Oil & Gas bribed officials in Somalia. Prompted by a court challenge, the SFO took the exceptional step of informing Soma that there was insufficient evidence of criminality to make a prosecution possible. However, it is continuing with a ten-month investigation into a further set of so-far-secret allegations also linked to the company’s Somali operations. On 12 October, one of the UK’s most senior judges refused Soma’s judicial review application to force the SFO to take a final decision on whether to prosecute or to disclose the nature of its new enquiry.


The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has closed its investigation into Hyperdynamics Corporation concerning possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “Based upon the information known to the department at this time we have closed our inquiry into this matter. If we obtain additional information or evidence in the future regarding this matter, we may reopen our inquiry,” the DoJ said in a letter to the company’s lawyers. The DoJ issued a subpoena in September 2013 asking Hyperdynamics to produce documents relating to its activities in Guinea.


State oil company Entreprise Tunisienne des Activités Pétrolières (Etap) is still without a chairman, following Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s dismissal of Moncef Mattoussi on 31 August. Energy minister Khaled Gaddour, director-general of hydrocarbons at the ministry Hédi Hrichi and the officials responsible for mining and legal affairs were also dismissed. The decree removing them returned responsibility for the sector – including hydrocarbons, electric power and renewables – to the Ministry of Industry and Small Business, where it used to sit before a stand-alone energy ministry was created in 2016.


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery released its Phase 3 report on South Africa in mid-March. The report evaluates and makes recommendations on implementation and enforcement of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and related instruments. The OECD said it was “seriously concerned” by the lack of foreign bribery enforcement actions in South Africa. “Despite South Africa’s economic links to a number of countries with corruption risks, only ten foreign bribery allegations have surfaced since it became a party to the Convention in 2007,” the OECD said.

South Africa
Issue 284 - 12 September 2014

SBM: $240m provision


Netherlands-based oil services company SBM Offshore in August included a $240m provision in its H1 14 financial statement, in anticipation of a potential settlement for improper sales practices. In April, the company released the findings of an internal investigation into its use of agents which found that SBM paid some $200m in commission to agents during the 2007-11 period, including $18.8m to Equatorial Guinea and $22.7m to Angola. SBM disclosed its findings with the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the US Department of Justice and is discussing potential settlement options.