Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has come out in defence of its Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jonathan Raheem Hosseini whose father, Morteza Abkenari has shares in a company that is doing business with BPC. Abkenari is the Managing Director of Tobela Solar Power which has been established to oversee a P2 million contract to put up a solar power installation in Tobela village.
Tobela Solar Power is BPC’s first investment in a solar power off-grid installation and eyebrows were raised when the project was given to a company owned by the father of BPC’s Chief Operating Officer who heads the procurement department at BPC.
According to information obtained from the power utility organisation, BPC signed its first Memorandum of Understanding with the community-owned power producing company, Tobela Solar Power (Pty) Ltd on 14th September 2017 at Tobela village in the Central District of Botswana as part of the initiative to increase renewable energy sources. This signing opened way for construction of the 1MW Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant which will deliver electricity to the national grid while some of the supply will be used by the Tobela community.
BPC Marketing & Communications Manager Dineo Seleke has however absolved Hosseini from accusations of conflict of interest, saying Hosseini declared his interests prior to BPC’s engagement with Tobela Solar Power. ‘‘BPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Jonathan Raheem Hosseini has not been part of the negotiations, meetings, contract drafting and signing of the Power Purchase Agreement between the service provider and BPC, therefore the corporation is confident to advance that there has not been any form of conflict of interest from his function as the Chief Operating Officer for BPC in relation to the agreement entered into with Tobela Solar Power Pty (Ltd).’’
Seleke further pointed out that BPC has not and will not in future fund the construction and operations of the Tobela Solar Power Plant Pty (Ltd) as well as all the other upcoming Grid Tied Solar Power Plants that will be established at different communities. ‘‘BPC’s role in this exercise is to provide a Power Purchase Agreement which defines the terms and conditions under which the Grid Tied Solar Power Plants will dispatch electricity into the national grid which is under the custody of BPC,’’ she said.
Tobela Solar Power Pty (Ltd) is expected to continue construction and commissioning of the 1MW grid tied solar power plant at Tobela village in order to provide solar power to the national grid while the Grid Tied Solar Power Plants for other areas will be installed and commissioned by their respective communities after signing of Power Purchase Agreement with the Corporation.