A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Tanzania’s Independent Power opposes handover of firm to new owner

power_transformer25 September 2013, Dares es Salaam – The Independent Power Tanzania Limited, IPTL, has challenged the jurisdiction of the High Court’s Commercial Division to grant orders sought by Advocate Martha Kaveni Renju, allowing her to take possession and managing its assets, including running the power plant.

In an affidavit filed to oppose requests by Ms Renju, one of IPTL’s founder Directors, James Rugemalira, told Judge Agathon Nchimbi, that the Commercial Division of the High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter and that the said advocate had no locus standi.

“This court is functus officio. Judge Nchimbi has no jurisdiction and is not competent to reopen a matter which has already been concluded by his brother Judge (John) Utamwa,” Mr Rugemalira stated in his affidavit.

On September 5, this year, Judge Utamwa signed a drawn order, granting orders, including the termination of Administrator General, as appointed provisional liquidator of IPTL and to hand over the company’s affairs to a new owner, Pan Africa Power Solutions Tanzania Limited (PAP).

According to the Companies Winding up Rules, Mr Rugemalira claims, such drawn order issued by Judge Utamwa has the equivalent force of a decree of the High Court.

He stated in the affidavit that on September 13, this year, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited (Bank), which is the principal of Ms Renju, filed an ex-parte application at the Court of Appeal for stay of execution of orders given by Judge Utamwa.

“As the orders for stay of execution applied for by the (Bank) at the Court of Appeal are in substance similar to the orders applied for by the (Bank)’s agent Martha Renju before Judge Nchimbi, this Court has no alternative but to stay the commercial cases pending,” he stated.

Mr Rugemalira alleges that IPTL has never registered any charge of any of its assets with the Registrar of Companies to entitle any creditor to appoint an administrative receiver of the company.

It is alleged that Ms Renju was appointed administrator receiver of IPTL on December 21, 2009, by the Bank under the powers charged security deed having the company allegedly failure to repay a loan amounting to 141,881,218.87 US dollars used to finance the project.

The IPTL director states in the affidavit further that he believed IMMMA Advocates, who drew and filed the application before the court on behalf of Ms Renju owed a higher duty to the court as officers of the court, than the duty they owe to their client.

“I also believe that an advocate is a Minister of justice equally with the judge. This carries with it corresponding responsibility. It is a mistake to suppose that an advocate is a mouth piece of his client to say what he wants or a tool to do what his client directs,” reads part of the affidavit.

As minister of justice, Mr Rugemalira alleges, an advocate “must not knowingly conceal the truth.” He, therefore, vehemently disputed some contents of affidavit filed by Ms Renju to support her claims and was evidence of false claims by Bank in conversion of IPTL properties.

In his ruling, Judge Utamwa granted all requests by VIP Engineering and Marketing Limited (VIP) to withdraw the petition for winding up the country’s giant electricity producer company and subsequently terminate the appointed liquidator and hand over all its affairs to PAP.

According to the ruling, PAP has committed to pay off all legitimate creditors of IPTL and to expand the plant capacity to 500MW and sell power to Tanesco at tariff ranging US dollar cents six to eight per unit in the shortest possible time after taking over in the public interests.

– Tanzania Daily News

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