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Friday, August 19, 2022

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Terragen Case: “The CEB Has Taken The Necessary Steps”

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“Unacceptable that when Terragen Ltd makes profits, it puts them in its pocket… but when the price of coal goes up it is the CEB, the government or even ‘lepep’ that has to pay it”

The MSM’s weekly press conference was an opportunity for ministers Maneesh Gobin, Fazila Jeewah-Dareeawoo and Joe Lesjongard to comment on recent events.

Joe Lesjongard, at the outset, stated that the operations of the CEB will not be affected.  The Minister of Public Utilities did not mince his words towards the Terragen Ltd thermal power plant which stopped its energy production on Friday. Joe Lesjongard says the Central Electricity Board (CEB) has made arrangements so that there will be no interruption in the supply of electricity, especially since Terragen Ltd provides about 17% of the local electricity supply.

Joe Lesjongard explains that the plant began operation on June 24, 1998 for a 20-year term. It was contracted to produce electricity under the Power Purchase Agreement.

“The contract was to end on June 30, 2020, but a few months earlier Terragen Ltd. and the CEB agreed on a 30-month extension under the same formula. Thus, the contract was to end in December 2022. But since October 13 last year Terragen Ltd. has made it clear to CEB that it wants to review the coal formula. It’s true that the price of coal has gone up, but it has remained unchanged for years,” he said.

Joe Lesjongard made it clear that from 1998 to 2020, Terragen had a turnover of Rs 22 billion. “Since 2011, Terragen Ltd had finished amortizing the investments. From 2012 to date, Terragen Ltd has made profits of Rs 1, 5 billion. In 2021, the company has made profits of Rs 135 million. The company has to come clean now, because at one point the government tried to find a solution. If the CEB had accepted Terragen Ltd’s proposals, the organization would have to pay it Rs 700 million for the period from January to December 2022” he said.

The minister finds it “unacceptable that when Terragen Ltd makes profits, it puts them in its pocket, but when the price of coal rises, it is the CEB, the government or ‘lepep’ that must pay”.

MSM President Joe Lesjongard blamed the Mauritius Turf Club for the situation at Champ de Mars. “When a regulator like the Gambling Regulatory Authority gives conditions, they must be respected. Now, because of the lack of a license, the Municipality of Port-Louis has taken over the concession. And since the MTC wants to respect all the conditions, the GRA refuses to give the license, because it can no longer organize the races, “he said. In the wake of the emergence of the pandemic in the country, the government has disbursed Rs 15.5 million for the Wage Assistance Scheme for employees of the MTCSL.

Attorney General Maneesh Gobin, spoke about the case of the Slovakian, Peter Uricek. Interpol had issued a “Red Notice” on Peter Uricek, as the International Criminal Police Organization has deemed him to be a wanted fugitive for prosecution and is calling him dangerous. Interpol had requested that he be returned to his country to face justice.  According to Maneesh Gobin, there were two charges against him. He was wanted for trafficking in illicit products such as methamphetamine and was part of a criminal network/group.  According to the information received, he is a member of a gang that is linked to the trafficking of 480 kilos of methamphetamine worth 16.8 million euros.

Fazila Jeewah-Daureeawoo took the opportunity to recall the various measures put in place by the government including pensions, business support, allowances, food packs, Marshall Plan …

And, now several subsidies on a list of products to help Mauritians in these difficult times.

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