At a press conference on Saturday morning, the MMM MP made serious allegations against the Central Electricity Board. She accused the Board of falsifying an appeal in favour of a company whose shareholders are foreigners.
The alleged scandal relates to a call for tenders issued in March 2022 for the installation of four solar farms capable of producing 10 megawatts each and three others to produce 30 megawatts each.
The firm in question has been awarded the contract for two 30-megawatt projects and one 10-megawatt project, for a total of 70 megawatts. According to Joanna Bérenger, one of the conditions of the call for tenders was that the bidders provide proof that they were already in possession of the title deeds to the land where the photovoltaic panels were to be installed.
But according to Joanna Bérenger, after signing the Power Purchase Agreement, the company in question asked to change the land on which the projects were to be installed. The CEB, she adds, asked for a legal opinion from a Senior Counsellor, who explained that this change was unacceptable, that the CEB was exposing itself to legal action and that the organisation was even entitled to claim damages from the company.
For Joanna Bérenger, there was clearly pressure on the CEB board to accept these changes. She says that the organisation’s board of directors and the minister responsible, Joe Lesjongard, need to come and explain themselves. She also wonders whether this is not all about big money.
Joanna Bérenger points out that she has not complained to Icac. She adds that the organisation can initiate an investigation on its own initiative.