The management of Biwater plc is deeply disturbed to learn that three executives of its subsidiary City Water Services Ltd (City Water) were detained this morning in Tanzania and have subsequently been deported.
“We won’t speculate on the motivations of Mr Edward Lowassa, the Tanzanian Livestock and Water Minister, in taking these disgraceful and unlawful actions but we have unwavering confidence in the complete integrity and professionalism of the City Water team,” said Larry Magor, Biwater’s Chief Executive.
“We have not been given an explanation for the deportation and no charges have been brought. Two of the three executives’ wives are still in Dar es Salaam and naturally we are concerned for their welfare. We are liaising with the High Commissioner who has expressed astonishment at today’s events.”
City Water, a joint venture between Biwater, Gauff Ingenieure and a Dar es Salaam based company called STM, was awarded a ten year management contract by the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) in February 2003 to manage the technical and commercial operation of the water and sewerage infrastructure for the Dar es Salaam area.
The ground-breaking agreement, wrongly labelled a privatisation in some quarters, ensures that the infrastructure assets remain in Government hands. “We tendered for this contract because we believed it represented the best solution for world-class experience and expertise to work in harmony with local partners to transform the lives of millions of people in the Dar es Salaam region,” said Larry Magor. “Our obligations to them and to our 1,300 strong workforce remain our prime concern.
“We’re proud of what we have achieved since August 2003 when the contract went live. We have successfully improved drinking water quality and quantity, increased water distribution and pressures and reduced water leakage. We have also met all our obligations in terms of investment, contrary to allegations which have appeared in the Tanzanian press.”
In May Minister Lowassa announced that he planned to terminate City Water’s contract. Last week City Water was granted an injunction by the English High Court to prevent DAWASA from terminating the contract unlawfully pending the outcome of the London arbitration, to which the parties are bound to submit their disputes.
“Since City Water was awarded the contract in February 2003 it has become clear that the information supplied to us was not only incomplete but also inaccurate,” said Larry Magor.
“For several months we have been in discussions with the government about re-structuring the contract and indeed those negotiations were progressing well. These latest events are therefore mystifying and disturbing. We will do everything in our power to resolve the situation.”