SEDA: Six solar power deals at risk
UPDATED @ 04:45:58 PM 25-07-2012
PUTRAJAYA, July 25 ― Six solar power contracts are in danger of being revoked, the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) revealed today, saying the firms had failed to meet some of the “milestones” set to allow their operations to proceed.
But the authority would not confirm if these firms include those owned by Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan’s daughter, which federal lawmakers previously revealed had not complied with a requirement stipulating that their bank accounts must have at least 20 per cent of the total capital cost of the project.
“We have checked and we know. But because of confidentiality, certain information cannot be divulged here.
“But we have checked and we realised that some (firms) have not improved their equity, some missed the milestones so some ‘letters of intent to revoke’ have [been sent] out,” SEDA chief executive officer Badriyah Abdul Malek told a public briefing today.
DAP MP Tony Pua and his PKR ally, Nurul Izzah Anwar, had recently highlighted that Mohd Sidek’s daughter, Suzi Suliana, and three others controlled 12 out of the 32 firms that had collectively won the “lion’s share” or 32.4 per cent of the country’s solar energy quota.
Pua had said that the 12 companies had jointly secured 45.9MW of the quota, which would require investments of RM367 million, based on his calculations using estimations from industry sources that each MW would require at least an RM8 million investment.
Pressing SEDA for answers during today’s briefing, Pua pointed out that information from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) had shown that at least nine of the 12 firms in question only had a paid-up capital of RM100, more than six months after the contracts were awarded.
“It can be an RM2 company when you apply. Fair enough, you set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV)... but post-application, when they are successful, they (the applicants) are supposed to top up paid-up capital to a minimum of RM200,000.
“But as of last week, it was only RM100. So why have they (the concessions) not been revoked yet?” he asked.
Responding, Badriyah confirmed the existence of the requirements, saying that applicants that did not meet the required equity levels would be running afoul of the authority’s rules.
SEDA chief operating officer Ali Askar Mohd Sher agreed and reiterated that the authority is already “in the process of revoking” some of the feed-in approvals (FiA).
“[We] have already revoked and are in the process of revoking (more). Do I need to make myself more clear than that?” he said.
SEDA’s legal adviser Toh Beng Suan added that there were legal processes that the authority has to abide by and this includes the “obligation of secrecy” for all its employees.
But she said that in its annual report, SEDA would be required to list the contracts awarded and those revoked.
When pushed further by Pua to disclose if the companies in question had met the required paid-up capital of 20 per cent of the project cost, Toh said that the information is classified.
“I’m afraid we can’t explain to you in detail. I know which company you are specifically mentioning,” she said, to which Pua demanded to know which legal provision labels the information as classified.
Pua pointed out that SEDA’s own application procedures state that the “applicant” must have sufficient credit balance in their accounts to allow for the contracts to be awarded.
“Did they comply?” he asked again.
When SEDA’s top management could not venture a specific answer, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP surmised out loud that SEDA’s failure to comply with its own regulation had resulted in the need for several contracts to be revoked.
Nurul Izzah had earlier also suggested that SEDA include a search with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) during its verification process in the FiT system, pointing out that this would help identify who is getting the chunk of its contracts.