The African Development Bank (AfDB) has blacklisted a prominent player in Africa’s power supply industry after an investigation found evidence of fraud.
Chint Electric, a Chinese power transmission and distribution equipment manufacturer, was found to have deliberately misrepresented its level of experience in order to qualify for participation in a number of AfDB-funded projects across the continent, the bank said.
“An investigation conducted by the bank’s office of integrity and anti-corruption established that Chint Electric engaged in a multitude of fraudulent practices,” said the AfDB. “In bidding for contracts for numerous AfDB-financed power projects, the company misrepresented with similar assignments in its experience order to meet qualification requirements.”
As part of a settlement, Chint will be ineligible to be awarded tenders for any AfDB-financed project or to work as a subcontractor, consultant, supplier or other service provider for an otherwise eligible company for 36 months. During this period, it will also be required to co-operate with the AfDB’s investigation and enhance its corporate compliance programme to the bank’s full satisfaction.
The decision will also see development banks in other regions blacklist the firm during the debarment period, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank Group.
Chint has been a major design and supply partner to a number of medium- and large-scale power projects financed by the AfDB since 2012. These included the Rural Electrification II Project in Ethiopia, the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe, the Electricity Transmission System Improvement Project in Tanzania and projects involving Kenya Power.
More recently, Chint has been working with Intratek in Zimbabwe on the Gwanda solar project, headed up by controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo. It is also listed as one of the bidders in a Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. (KETRACO) project.
As a result of the debarment, Chint’s participation in the Gwanda solar project will be halted, marking a major blow for Intratek. Discussions with the government and the state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authorty (ZESA) had been expected imminently, with the goal of unlocking funding.
Subject to the extent of Chint’s co-operation, the debarment period may be reduced to 24 months.