IPTL board removes Harbinder Sethi

Tuesday May 15 2018


By The Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The board of directors of Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) has stripped Mr Harbinder Singh Sethi (pictured) of all positions in the power producer.

Mr Sethi is in remand facing criminal charges of occasioning the government a loss of hundreds of billions of shillings through the firm. IPTL said in a statement yesterday that the decision to remove him from all management positions was aimed at positioning the firm as the leading Independent power producer in the country. IPTL had been selling power to Tanesco until August 2017 when the Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (Ewura) declined to renew its power production licence amid a running controversy over IPTL’s reported takeover by Mr Sethi. However, the firm has a power purchase agreement with Tanesco that runs up to January 2022.

Mr Joseph Makandege will now head IPTL, the statement, signed by board chairman Ambroce Brixio Lugenge, said. Mr Makandege has been given the title of managing director and chief executive with effect from April 10 after the position of executive chairman, which was being held by Mr Sethi, was scrapped.

“The appointment of Mr Makandege resulted from a series of board meetings, convened and held to transact various reform agenda within the company, intended to make IPTL a leading Independent power producer in the country,” the statement reads in part.

Mr Makandege, a lawyer by profession, has been in the legal team defending Mr Sethi in his case. He has also served as IPTL company secretary and chief counsel for a long time.

IPTL was contracted over two decades ago to produce power for Tanesco, but last year Ewura declined to renew the power production licence.

Prior to that the firm has had a series of legal issues with the government that had been seeking to end its contract with Tanesco.

The payment of over Sh300 billion to IPTL from an escrow account caused a scandal after a Controller and Auditor General report found out that the payment was illegal as the money belonged to the government, not IPTL.

It is the subject of the court case facing Mr Sethi and another IPTL investor, Mr James Rugemalira.

The government, Tanesco and IPTL are also parties in an international case filed by Standard Chartered Bank of Hong Kong over the rightful ownership of IPTL and enforcement of the multiple layers of past agreements for power production and purchase.

IPTL and the Tanesco first signed a 20-year power purchasing agreement in 1995 for 100MW of electricity.

ensive experience in Corporate Governance, with over 10 years of experience in the power sector.

In his remarks, Mr Makandege said he had been humbled and honoured to have been considered fit for the position, promising to deliver to the mandate of the position.