Kandjoze moves to ‘kill’ Kudu
Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, has confirmed that he has received legal advice on the controversial 885 megawatt Kudu gas-to-power project, amid speculation that he had put pressure on the Office of the Attorney General to give him the kind of advice that could be used to can the initiative.
Sources allege that Kandjoze has been influencing Chief Legal Adviser in the Attorney General’s office, Chris Nghaamwa, to give his ministry the ammunition he needs to kill the Kudu project.
The Office of the Attorney General was asked to scrutinize the agreement between Namcor and BW Offshore, Namcor’s preferred equity partner for the 56 percent equity in the Kudu project.
The Namibian reported in July that officials from the Attorney General’s office are said to be asking BW Offshore to pay for the 56 percent shares they want to acquire in Kudu Gas instead of getting them for free.
Reliable sources within the AG’s office told the Windhoek Observer this week that the legal advice that had been given is not positive.
“The advice given to them is not positive; the minister might actually not sign the deed of assignment. If he does that, then Kudu is basically dead. Also he has been influencing Chris Nghaamwa to give him the advice that he wants. I’m afraid Kandjoze might kill the Kudu deal through his antics,” a source said.
Another source claimed that Kandjoze had been advised to use his own discretion, in deciding whether to sign the deed of assignment or not.
Contacted for comment, Nghaamwa rubbished allegations that he had been “influenced”.
“I have never been influenced by the minister. And I cannot tell you about our client’s details. Its confidential information,” he said.
Kandjoze this week refused to explain the exact feedback given to him by Nghaamwa.
“The work by the Attorney General’s office has now finally been completed. What is left from the Ministry of Mines and Energy is to process the recommendations from the legal opinion and action exactly those to Namcor, as per the legal opinion. The ministry is in the process of accomplishing just that, and as I compile this reply, this is work in progress,” Kandjoze said.
When asked whether he sees the project going ahead or not, Kandjoze said that his opinion has never changed.
Kandjoze had said in January that the Kudu gas-to-power project remains a strategic project for the government, in terms of long-term energy generation. He, however, said it was not affordable, given that it is a US dollar-based project.
The Kudu gas project, aimed at increasing Namibia’s power-generation capacity, is estimated to cost about US$1,2 billion.
NamPower was to have taken up 400MW of the Kudu supply for local consumption, while 100MW is slated to go to South Africa and 300MW to Zambia.
In the meantime, the Namibian government has directed NamPower to resume negotiations with Xaris Energy on its 200MW power station in Walvis Bay as a short-term solution.
The Xaris project will be developed without Treasury involvement, as per the commitment of the project developers.