…..no waivers, let him follow process
….Thabo’s opinion against the project
The Board for the state owned electricity supplier ESCOM has rejected a proposal from the Ministry of Energy to fast track power purchase agreement for the controversial “Chief”, effectively handing the powerfully connected Nigerian his second rejection in his attempts to get business in Malawi, The Investigator Magazine has been told.
Three energy officials- ESCOM Chief Executive Officer Kamkwamba Kumwenda, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority CEO Henry Kachaje and Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni travelled to the United States of America in June where they met “Chief” Obinna Chief G.O.C Amuchienwa who is the founder Chairman of ACSG (Africa Consolidated Services Group).
The trip was classified as a due diligence tour but according to insiders, a report was never submitted on the company which it claimed had formed a consortium to produce up to 1,000 mw solar energy in Malawi.
The ESCOM Board Chaired by Morgan Tembo this week met in Mangochi and threw out an application by the team that had travelled to the USA to fast track the project which would start with a 50 mw plant to start by December 2024.
“The whole PPA process with Chief’s company was not approved by the board,” said the source which questioned, “What was the rush about this particular agreement.”
Our source said the Board asked for a due deligence report which the team that travelled to the USA. The report has not been done, alleged the source.
“When they requested for ACSG- Westland office as in operational presence – they indicated Nigeria and not Utah in the USA where they had travelled. The Board felt something was not right,” said a second source.
The Ministry had signed an interim PPA with “Chief’s” company and wanted procurement waivers be granted to allow the company jump some of the procedures.
“The Board refused and threw out the request to approve the further agreement and waiver the required procurement processs,” said the source.
We failed to get hold of Mr Morgan Tembo but Secretary for Energy Alfonso Chikuni said his Ministry was working had to increase Malawis electricity capacity to fast track industrialisation.
“I cannot comment on those that leak information. Our task is to ensure Malawi had enough energy and that’s what we are focused on,” said the Energy Chief.
Insiders claim Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola has been sidelined in the processes and a meeting was called in Lilongwe this week to sort out the issues. Matola could not be reached for a comment.
The “Chief” came into limelight when National Oil Company then boss Hellen Buluma pointed fingers at SPC Colleen Zamba as having tried to push for a fuel contract unprocedurely.