NamPower mum on Xaris cancellation

02 March 2018 | Justice

NamPower says it is not at liberty to say why it has cancelled the request for proposal (RFP) to jointly develop the Walvis Bay Power Project with Xaris Energy.

NamPower cancelled the lucrative tender, estimated at N$5 billion, with Xaris on 1 February.

In a brief statement the power utility yesterday said it had begun crafting its “strategic intent”, a process that would enable the development of a new five-year corporate strategic and business plan.

Its current five-year plan ends in June.

The new strategy, NamPower said, was aimed at meeting its goal for medium- and long-term energy self-sufficiency.

“Once finalised, the strategic intent will be presented at a stakeholder forum to all interested stakeholders in the electricity supply industry for their views and input. The public is, however, assured that NamPower is and will continue to ensure security of supply to Namibia in accordance with its mandate,” NamPower said.

The power utility faced harsh criticism and a court challenge after it had awarded the tender to Xaris Energy, in which Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba and Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (Namfisa) executive member Boni Paulino have shares.



Supreme court reserves judgement

The Supreme Court yesterday reserved judgement in an appeal by Arandis Power against a High Court decision that its challenge against awarding the lucrative Walvis Bay Power Project tender to Xaris Energy had no merit and lacked integrity.

Arandis Power filed its appeal with the Supreme Court on 30 January.

Two days later, on 1 February, NamPower informed it that the RFP by Xaris to jointly develop the 250-megawatt power plant had been cancelled.

Legal representatives of Xaris and Arandis then met on 8 February to discuss how the new development would affect Arandis's Supreme Court appeal and Xaris's legal representatives felt it was moot.

Acting on behalf of Arandis, law firm Etzold-Duvenhage Attorneys argued that the matter was not moot, arguing that it would only be over if Xaris “unequivocally and irrevocably” acknowledged in writing that the tender with NamPower had been validly cancelled and that the decision by NamPower to award the tender to it on 30 March 2015 was of no force and effect.

The Arandis team argued that Xaris had refused to provide the requisite acknowledgement of the tender cancellation.

Xaris's legal representatives, Engling, Stritter and Partners, in their heads of argument before the Supreme Court said they would challenge NamPower's cancellation of the tender and seek to enforce the tender award in its favour.

Arandis challenged the lawfulness and validity of awarding the tender to Xaris and whether Xaris could seek to enforce it.

Arandis maintained that the tender award was invalid and therefore Xaris could not seek its enforcement, irrespective of the confirmed cancellation of the tender.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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