Now Richmond mocks Bunge probe findings... THIS DAY THE US-based Richmond Development Company (RDEVCO) LLC has ridiculed the Tanzanian parliament over its investigation of the controversial power generation deal with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), claiming that the probe was conducted by a "rival faction of the ruling party." A statement posted recently on the Richmond company's official website sought to deride the findings of the parliamentary probe team that investigated the dubious contract last year. It described the probe team, appointed by the National Assembly on recommendation by the parliamentary energy and minerals committee, as being "politically motivated." While Richmond claims that the probe was carried out by a "rival faction" within Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the team appointed by parliament actually comprised MPs from both the ruling party and opposition camp. The Kyela Member of Parliament, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe (CCM), was appointed chairman of the Richmond parliamentary probe committee, while former TANESCO engineer Stella Manyanya, now a Special Seats MP (CCM), served as vice-chair. Other members of the committee were Mohammed Mnyaa (CUF), Lucas Selelii (CCM), and James Mtangi (CCM). Richmond claimed in the statement that it won the power generation contract fair and square in July 2006, after an "international competitive bidding process." "Richmond was awarded a contract to provide 100MW of power on a BOO (build-own-operate) for a period of two years with extensions," said the statement, which appears to have been posted sometime mid-this year, but has since been removed from the company website - www.rdevco.com. The company asserted that it was able to design, secure financing, and build the first phase of the power plant in Dar es Salaam "in 52 days?, and delivered power ?on time and in accordance with the awarded contract." "After successfully connecting to the grid, and with written approval and acceptance from TANESCO, Richmond sold its interest to Dowans," said the statement. It added: "Almost a year later, a politically-motivated parliamentary investigation of the contracting process was conducted, led by a rival faction of the ruling party, resulting in the resignation of the prime minister (Edward Lowassa) in February 2008." Richmond claimed that it was unfairly attacked by "political press in Tanzania and a group of bloggers." The company sought to use a widely-discredited investigation by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) into the Richmond deal, to vindicate itself from graft allegations. "An independent, non-political investigation of the contracting process by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) cleared Richmond of all wrongdoing," said the company in the now-removed statement. It added: "We are aware of the misinformation in the politically-charged Tanzania press and blogs that support rival factions and parties. However, the facts are that Richmond designed, secured financing and built power plant on time and under budget." The statement asserted further that the power plant built by Richmond in Dar es Salaam "has been in operation at TANESCO?s headquarters in Ubungo, and is still fully functional." "TANESCO actually sought permission from the government to purchase the plant from Dowans to provide power for the next 25 years," said the company, referring to a failed bid by TANESCO to buy the controversial power plant earlier this year. While the Richmond Dowans plant was built for around $30m, the company was paid a staggering $42m by the government over the past two years. TANESCO Managing Director Dr Idris Rashidi, backed by Energy and Minerals Minister William Ngeleja, unsuccessfully tried to get the government to buy the second-hand power plant from Dowans Tanzania Limited for a staggering $69m - more than twice its actual cost.