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Power court hears first dispute

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd February 2007 03:00 AM

THE hearing of the first appeal case at the Electricity Disputes Tribunal involving Electromaxx and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) over the award of the 50MW heavy- fuel thermal plant deal started yesterday.

By Ibrahim Kasita
THE hearing of the first appeal case at the Electricity Disputes Tribunal involving Electromaxx and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) over the award of the 50MW heavy- fuel thermal plant deal started yesterday.

Electromaxx sued ERA, disputing the tendering process that saw a Norwegian firm, Jacobsen Elecktro AS, win the tender.

It argued that the country would be saddled with a $34m (about sh60b) debt if Jacobsen carried on with the contract.
It claimed Jacobsen’s bid was more expensive than theirs and the award was ‘unfair, illegal and irregular.’

Electromaxx petitioned the Inspector General of Government (IGG) who overturned the award after discovering ‘illegalities and irregularities’ in the tendering process.

The IGG called for the re-tendering of the contract. The President ordered the energy ministry to re-evaluate the bids.
The tribunal is chaired by Charles Okoth and Percy Tuhaise, the deputy. John Walala is a member and Ketrah Katunguka the registrar.

ERA was represented by Muhammed Mbabazi while Electromaxx’s legal counsel is Magellan Kazibwe.
Kazibwe argued: “The manner in which ERA handled the bidding process was unfair, irregular, illegal and we are seeking justice.”

He said despite the outcome of the re-evaluation, the tribunal should continue to hear the case since the re-evaluation was outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

However, Mbabazi said: “When the re-evaluation commenced, it meant that the licence awarded to Jacobsen was revoked. We are waiting for the results from the re-evaluation.”

He explained: “For any re-evaluation, the licence awarded must be revoked. Therefore, the appeal is incompetent, not manageable and I pray the case is dismissed with costs.”

Okoth concluded: “You should appreciate that these matters are complex. I propose to give you a ruling on the matters raised in a notice within a few days.”

He said the registrar would be given a tentative date to issue the communication to the parties.

At the beginning of last year, ERA invited bidders to build the thermal in Namanve.
Jacobsen won the bid after beating Electromaxx and African Power Initiative.

Power court hears first dispute

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