Norwegian Cambi, competitor of Efacec in the tender for the construction of a biogas plant in Norway, challenged it due to previous shareholder relations with the now-famous businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.
According to a statement released today by the state-owned company that hired Efacec, Nedre Romerike Avløpsselskap (NRA), the contract with the Portuguese company is worth around 220 million crowns (20.9 million euros) .
“Nedre Romerike Avløpsselskap intends to agree with Portuguese Efacec on the construction of a future-oriented biogas plant”, located in the municipality of Lillestrøm, about 20 kilometers from the capital Oslo, the company announced today. in a press release. According to a report published in the Norwegian newspaper E24, Efacec’s bid was 140 and 162 million Norwegian kroner (around 13.3 and 15.4 million euros, respectively) lower than that of its competitors, including Cambi .
According to the documentation to which Lusa had access, the competitor of Efacec filed a complaint with the NRA and appealed to the Norwegian Public Procurement Appeals Board (KOFA), the former majority shareholder of Efacec being the businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, and also for the price.
“Considering the huge international coverage of the corruption scandal involving Isabel dos Santos and her previous and now disputed participation of over 70% in Efacec, we are very surprised that Efacec took part in the competition and was considered a winner. You can read in a letter Cambi sent to the NRA.
On January 19, the businesswoman saw her name implicated in the “ Luanda Leaks ” case, in which the International Investigative Journalism Consortium revealed more than 715,000 lawsuits detailing the businesswoman’s alleged financial schemes. and her husband who would have allowed them to withdraw Angolan public money. through tax havens.
On July 2, the government approved the decree-law for the nationalization of 71.73% of the capital of Efacec, having already approved on December 10 the specifications for the reprivatization of this capital, the process taking about six months.
Cambi claims that the NRA tender “took place at the same time as the corruption scandal involving Isabel dos Santos”, and also raises doubts about his position as a shareholder in Efacec, which still claims the wife of business, which froze assets in Portugal and Angola.
In the formal complaint to the Public Procurement Appeals Board (KOFA), the company that lost the bid maintains that “Efacec should never have been prequalified for the bidding” because of the shareholder position of Isabel dos Santos and the fact that Mário Leite da Silva, considered as the “right hand” of the businesswoman and whose name is also involved in “Luanda Leaks”, having been chairman of the board of administration of the company.
“It is not possible that whoever received the prequalification documents from Efacec did not know that the main shareholder of the company and the chairman of the board of directors were simultaneously involved in a major corruption scandal” , indicates the letter.
In response to Cambi, lawyer Marianne Dragsten, who represents the NRA project contractor, says that “there are not sufficient grounds to trigger Efacec’s right to dismiss him on corruption allegations against Isabel dos Santos “.
“Based on the information available on the corruption allegations against Isabel dos Santos, the client understands that an investigation is underway”, explains the NRA, referring to that “Isabel dos Santos has not been convicted”.
According to the NRA, “although there are indications that Isabel dos Santos is guilty of bribery, it is not clear that this can be invoked as a ground for refusal, since she no longer owns the company”, and it is not enough to claim that “she challenged the nationalization of the company before the Portuguese authorities”.
The Norwegian state-owned company also states that “the decision to nationalize / expropriate shareholder rights is not a ‘corruption trial’, according to Norwegian public procurement regulations.
“In its prequalification request, Efacec did not provide information on the corruption allegations against Isabel dos Santos. However, this does not constitute a reason for rejecting Efacec ”, due to the lack of judgment on the issues, specifies the NRA.
“It was not considered sufficiently documented that a serious error was made by Isabel dos Santos / Efacec”, said the representative of the NRA.
The NRA has also dismissed the allegations regarding the contract price and KOFA has yet to comment on the case.
In response to Lusa’s questions about the case, Efacec confirmed “the intention to award Efacec a project to build a biogas plant in Norway”. “We will share more information after signing the contract,” an official Efacec source told Lusa about the project.