A new Richmond is coming...
By ThisDay Reporter
30th November 2009
The two separate energy contracts involve the procurement of a 100-megawatts, gas-fired power plant at Ubungo in Dar es Salaam, and the purchase of a 60MW power plant in Nyakato, Mwanza, which will run on heavy fuel oil.
Government officials have confirmed that the same people said to be behind the 2006 Richmond scandal are now well-positioned to be awarded the contracts using a different company name.
TANESCO received bids for both projects in June this year, but the tender process has since been shrouded in apparent secrecy and controversy.
It is understood that the group of Richmond-tainted businessmen-cum-politicians, working as a syndicate of sorts, submitted bids for the two contracts under another company name, ostensibly in an attempt to hide the identities of the real owners of the firm.
The 'syndicate' is said to be using the same network of government officials who facilitated the Richmond deal, to ensure it stays ahead in the race to land the latest contracts.
"A new Richmond is coming...," a senior government official familiar with the latest TANESCO tenders told THISDAY.
According to government insiders, the bids submitted by the 'syndicate' for the contracts were inflated by more than $30m (approx. 40bn/-).
"These people received inside information on the tenders, and submitted bids for both. In fact, there are reports going around that both contracts have already been awarded to the same people who were behind the Richmond scandal," said the senior government official.
The 'syndicate' is said to have been doing lots of behind-the-scenes maneuvering since early this year to land the new contracts.
"These people have the audacity and dastardly courage to repeat the same methods of fraud, misrepresentation of facts, bribery and what-have-you that they deployed to secure the Richmond contract, this time around as well," said the government official.
Under tender number PA/001/09/HQ/W/016, TANESCO invited bids for the "supply, installation, testing and commissioning" of the emergency,gas-based 100MW power generation plant in Dar es Salaam, on a turn-key basis.
A turn-key project is a type of project that is constructed by a developer and sold or turned over to a buyer (in this case, TANESCO) in a ready-to-use condition.
On the other hand, tender number PA/001/09/HQ/W/018 involves the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of a 60MW power plant in Nyakato, Mwanza, that will use dual-heavy fuel oil for power generation. The proposed Mwanza power plant is also a turn-key project.
According to our government sources, the bid winner(s) for both projects was expected to be picked on the basis of experience, technical capacity, fulfillment of tender requirements, and other such aspects.
“But the word is now out that the one company already awarded both contracts...has never worked in Tanzania before, nor does it have any power generation experience in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa," the sources said.
Contacted for comment, the Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, asserted that the TANESCO tender board is still in the process of assessing bids from various companies for the two tenders, and no formal decision has been made so far on the bid winner or winners.
“It's too early to comment on this matter now because the tender process is still in the early stages...," the minister told THISDAY.
The official deadline for submission of bids for the two tenders expired on June 5 this year, meaning that TANESCO has been processing the bids for almost six months now.
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