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US developer Symbion Power Tanzania Ltd on 13 March filed a request for arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris claiming breach of contract due to non-payment by Tanzania Electricity Supply Corporation (Tanesco) for power from the 126MW Ubungo plant (AE 331/1). Symbion says Tanesco has refused to pay for its power since the contract was agreed, claiming variously that the power purchase agreement (PPA) had been “put on hold”, never been signed or, later, that it had been rescinded.

Issue 309 - 08 October 2015

Algeria: Saipem case advances


An Italian court will try six defendants in December on charges related to Saipem’s payment of €198m in bribes to secure approximately €8bn worth of contacts in Algeria. The most significant among the accused is the alleged go-between in the affair, Farid Bedjaoui, for whom Interpol has issued a red notice saying that he is wanted for “criminal associations leading to corruption”. He will be tried in absentia with two other Algerians. Three Italian senior Saipem executives will be in the dock, but the company’s country manager at the time will not, as he has struck a deal with prosecutors.


London-based Independent Resources, which has assets in Tunisia and Egypt, has brought in three directors from ambitious Morocco player Sound Energy and plans to change its name to Echo Energy. Continental Investment Partners, which also has 10% in Sound, has taken a 29.9% share via its associate Greenberry plc. Sound chief executive James Parsons will join the company as non-executive chairman, while two other Sound directors, Marco Fumagalli and Stephen Whyte, will also join the board.


French investigators on 25 April charged industrialist Vincent Bolloré and two colleagues as part of an investigation into suspected bribery of foreign officials in Guinea and Togo. Prosecutors are investigating whether Bolloré’s Havas communications business helped African leaders win power in return for contracts for Bolloré Group to operate ports. Bolloré Group said in a statement that a subsidiary was under investigation “regarding the payment of provisions for communication services in Guinea and Togo that were provided in 2009 and 2010”.

Issue 332 - 18 October 2016

Chad: Doba consortium fined $76bn


A court in N’djamena has fined the ExxonMobil-led consortium producing oil from the Doba Basin $76bn in a dispute about royalties. Exxon said it disagreed with the court’s ruling and was “evaluating next steps”. It said the dispute was over “commitments made by the government to the consortium, not the government’s ability to impose taxes”. The court awarded the finance ministry CFA483.6bn in damages, plus a penalty of CFA44,294bn. The consortium has lodged an appeal in N’djamena as well as a case at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.


Industry scepticism about the project’s economics notwithstanding, on 23 January, President Uhuru Kenyatta shook hands with Total executive committee member Momar Nguer to confirm the French major’s commitment to investing in the Lokichar-Lamu oil pipeline. These things matter in East African oil and geostrategic manoeuvring; Uganda’s export pipeline was planned to pass through Lokichar until Total backed a rival route to Tanzania, but having since bought Maersk Oil, it needs an export route in Kenya too.

Issue 384 - 17 January 2019

Ghana: ECG handover planned for February


The transfer of management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to Power Distribution Services Ghana Ltd, which is owned by a consortium led by the Philippines’ Manila Electricity Company (Meralco), is expected to take place on 1 February, Millennium Development Authority (Mida) chief executive Martin Eson-Benjamin told a media briefing in Accra this month.Mida is responsible for implementing Ghana’s $469.3m compact with the US’ Millennium Challenge Corporation.


Tribal rights NGO Survival International has lodged a complaint with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) against Italian company Salini Impregilo, which is building the 1,870MW Gilgel Gibe III dam on the Omo River in Ethiopia. The complaint was filed under the 2011 OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to which Salini is a signatory.


Former finance minister Basil Pesambili Mramba and energy and minerals minister Daniel Ndhira Yona were jailed for three years on 6 July for issuing illegal tax exemptions to an international company and also arbitrarily awarding a contract to audit gold, costing the government millions of dollars of lost revenues. Both politicians are from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and issued the exemption certificates in the early 2000s. “The accused acted arbitrarily in granting tax exemptions to a gold audit firm, totally disregarding advice by taxation and legal authorities,” the court judgement read.


Malawi is completing the sign-up steps to become an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) candidate and is expected to present an application to the EITI Board by 30 June. The EITI is part of the government’s commitment to develop the oil and mining sector in a manner that generates revenue to the state and benefits the citizens of Malawi.In a state of the nation speech to parliament on 5 May, President Peter Mutharika said: “In view of the commitment by government to enhance transparency in the mining sector, government will join the EITI to promote revenue transparency.


President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may be gone, but demonstrators continue to call for radical change to a system dominated by ‘deep state’ players, including a genuine crackdown on corruption. Senior establishment figures are trying to persuade the popular ‘Hirak’ street protest movement that the system can reform itself, with assurances that recent scandals such as the Kamel El-Bouchi cocaine affair and older cases including the collapse of Khalifa Bank should be revisited.

Issue 268 - 20 December 2013

Mali: Corruption investigation


In mid-December six judges and judicial officers were charged and taken into custody in an investigation into corruption. “In the context of the fight against corruption and financial crime triggered by the Malian government, six judges and judicial officers were charged with forgery, fraud and extortion,” a justice ministry official told the Agence France-Presse news agency. In late November, new President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta restated his commitment to tackling corruption and impunity. Before his election following a second round of voting in August, Keïta promised “zero tolerance” of corruption


Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has agreed to pay out $84m to residents of the Bodo community for two of the Niger Delta’s largest oil spills, which took place in 2008 and 2009. Some $54m of the settlement will go to around 15,600 fisherman, while the remaining $30m will be left for the community. Outgoing SPDC managing director Mutiu Sunmonu said the company accepted responsibility for the spills, both of which SPDC admits were caused by operational failures of the pipelines.


The sacking of petroleum, energy and renewable energy minister Thierry Tanoh, formally announced on 10 December, was not unexpected. Tanoh had been in conflict with powerful players, notably influential presidential adviser and former minister Adama Toungara, over a planned audit of the sector, further reforms and project developments. The former banker had also clashed with Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who was lobbying President Alassane Dramane Ouattara to sack the minister.

Côte d'Ivoire

The South African government suffered a major setback in its efforts to procure nuclear power when the High Court in Cape Town ruled on 26 April that three intergovernmental agreements, two ministerial determinations and all subsequent procurement activity was unlawful and unconstitutional. The decision means that two ministerial determinations – announcements by the energy minister that a certain amount of capacity will be procured from a particular technology – from 2013 and 2016 underpinning the government’s ambitious, and controversial, efforts to procure 9,600MW of nuclear power have been set aside.

South Africa