Msabaha `dives` for cover over suspect pipeline deal FINNIGAN WA SIMBEYE Dar es Salaam REJECTED only the other day, an American company is back with a lucrative deal, apparently all signed and sealed, to supply power to the national electricity grid, THISDAY can reveal. At first attempt, the Third Phase government rejected a bid by Messrs Richmond Development Company (RDC) to secure a 650bn/- pipeline project. But the same firm has just scooped the lucrative deal. THISDAY can now reveal that the RDC failed to win the tender for the oil pipeline project floated by the Third Phase Government on grounds that it had submitted ''a poor project implementation proposal.'' But to the surprise of stakeholders in the construction industry, heightened by a highly suspect move, the same company recently received a bond worth $100m (about 130 bn/-) from the CRDB Bank, with which it has just secured a contract from TANESCO to supply 100 megawatts of power to the national electricity grid. ''When the Third Phase government was about to end its tenure towards the end of last year, we had rejected Richmond's proposal,'' former energy minister, Daniel Yona told THISDAY. He added: ''As to what is happening now, you had better contact the current minister (Dr. Msabaha).'' When contacted for comment, Dr Msabaha dithered: ''You better come to my office � I don't give interviews over the phone.'' But when THISDAY visited the minister's office, his aides demanded a written questionnaire. The US company, based at Houston, Texas was about to win the lucrative oil pipeline project which was initiated by a local company, Africommerce International Limited (AIL), but it failed in its bid after it allegedly failed to submit a satisfactory proposal on how to implement the project. The former minister dismissed allegations that the US firm had won the bond through his 'influence-peddling' by virtue of his membership to the CRDB Board. ''Those reports are absolutely untrue, I first knew Richmond during my tenure at the ministry when they approached us with a view to taking over the Dar es Salaam-Mwanza oil pipeline project,'' Yona insisted. The AIL which initiated the project in the 1990s had sunk over 3bn/- by last year when the former energy and minerals minister decided that the company had failed to deliver over the years. After a long silence, Richmond resurfaced in the local media last week when press reports revealed that the company had secured a last-minute bond from CRDB after failing to do as a pre-condition to import 20MW General Electric gas turbines to supply power to Tanesco. The RDC is one of the four private power-generating companies awarded a tender last week to supply Tanesco with energy. But reports said the US firm had failed to import a 20MW gas turbine early this month due to failure to raise a bank guarantee � but which the CRDB finally provided. At a news conference last week, Minister for Energy and Minerals, Dr. Ibrahim Msabaha -- who served as deputy to Mr. Yona during the last five years of President Benjamin Mkapa's administration -- confirmed that CRDB had 'rescued' the American company in its desperate bid to clinch the Dar es Salaam-Mwanza oil pipeline. Investigations by THISDAY have since established that RDC had earlier failed to secure a bank bond both at home in the US and locally because of stringent US bank demands on credibility and project viability of the loan seeker. On its website, the RDC which is jointly owned by businessman Mohammed Gire and economist, Dr. Mohammed Huque, does not give any details of its finances other than giving a general notice on projects covered. ''RDC team has brought to financial close several projects totalling some $500m (approx. 650bn/-). RDC's current development includes civil constructions, oil pipelines and 200MW Power Plant, and a 200,000 bpd Refinery Project in Brazil,'' the company says on its website. Without naming where the projects are specifically located, the RDC further claims it is undertaking an 'oil pipeline' project and a '60,000-seat national stadium' project � both projects located within East Africa, according to the website. ''Richmond Development Company of Houston which is developing several projects in the East African nation of Tanzania hosted Tanzanian Ambassador to the US, Honorable Andrew M. Daraja to Houston, Texas, from July 20 through to July 22, 2003,'' the company said in a statement on its website. The RDC said the projects currently under development include, (the) ''National Sports Stadium with seating capacity of sixty thousand spectators, 1,150 km of petroleum product pipeline plus five terminals.'' Asked to clarify on the projects currently under development, Dr. Huque refused to disclose what he termed as ''secret company information'' in an electronic mail message. On public record, there is only one 60,000-seater stadium project � the National Stadium project built by a Chinese company -- while the Dar-Mwanza pipeline project is stalled pending final decision by Dr. Msabaha. Hivi ndivyo ilivyoripotiwa na Daily News la tarehe 12/09 Source:: Daily News Story by: CHARLES KIZIGHA Date: 12.09.2006 A US-based firm is behind its schedule of installing a 20-MW gas turbine at the Ubungo power station in Dar es Salaam. The company had targeted end of this month or early next month for the beginning of the installation work in addition to installing two more turbines of 40MW each by December. The delay is expected to further aggravate the power crisis in the country in the next few weeks. Country Manager of Richmond Development Company of Houston, USA, Mr Naeem Gire, said last month that the 20-MW turbine would arrive towards the end of this month to be followed with installation immediately. Following the impending serious power crisis, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) has contracted Messrs Agreco to install a 30-MW diesel generator in Mwanza in six months' time, according to sources. The move follows envisaged serious national grid system instability in the gold producing regions of Mwanza, Shinyanga and Mara when the Mtera Dam hydroelectric plant comes to a halt when the water level reaches 687 metres above sea level at the end of next month. The company planned to install a 20-MW gas turbine between September and October and another two of 40MW each by December, which could have injected 100MW more to the national grid. Sources close to the ministries of Finance; Energy and Minerals as well as the banking sector claimed that Richmond's plans to import the gas turbine in time emanated from its failure to secure a bank guarantee from an American bank so that a Letter of Credit could be opened. The bank decided not to issue the bank guarantee after undertaking a due diligence of Richmond Development Company, sources claimed, alleging that the Bank of Tanzania was also not keen for security reasons over the issue. The company has finally approached CRBD Limited which has opened the L/C but was yet to be confirmed as of last Friday, The CRDB Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei, was not available for comment yesterday. This reporter was directed to talk to one Mr Nkini who was also not reached. Sources claimed that Messrs Richmond had asked for an advance payment of 30 million US dollars (33bn/-) while they did not have a bank guarantee. It was further alleged that the company had already informed Tanesco that the gas turbine had already been crated in the US when they were told local experts wanted to inspect the machine. But a senior government official ordered it (consignment) to be shipped so that the needful (inspection) could be conducted in Dar es Salaam. When Tanesco demanded the shipping documents, Richmond officials promised to deliver them but that never happened to date. Officials of the company could not be reached through their cellular or the landline phones. This newspaper also failed to reach the country manager. Authoritative sources close to the industry said that failure by the US company to install the gas turbine according to its plan, plus the absence of a Songas 40-MW turbine which broke down last month and flown to Holland for repairs has forced Tanesco to generate more electricity at Mtera Dam than it had earlier planned. The water level at Mtera recorded 687.88 metres above sea level yesterday, meaning Tanesco was left with only 88 centimetres to generate power for 44 days only since the consumption was two centimetres a day, sources said. Mtera was generating 30MW intermittently for some few hours. However, by yesterday, the plant was shut down completely, meaning that there was no water flowing into Kidatu. Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) generates 100MW, Songas 140MW, Nyumba ya Mungu, three MW, Kihansi 30MW and Pangani 29MW. "Tanesco is generating between 300 and 350MW during the day to cope with the 12-hour load shedding, increasing the amount to 550MW after the day's rationing by generating more from the hydropower stations whose water levels are very low," sources said. "If Mtera closes today, Kidatu will be able to continue generating power for only one week," they said. In the light of this situation, the Tanesco board of directors is expected to meet this morning. Its Chairman, Ambassador Fulgence Kazaura, said it would assess the power situation in the country and come up with strategies to increase generation as well rationing, bearing in mind its financial and economic implications. Sijui kwa wanao-doubt efforts za This Day stori hii ni of public interest au "maslahi binafsi ya Mengi"?