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Friday, 31 August 2018 13:59

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

This is a clear manifestation of arrogance. The act was unprecedented and the actors should be prosecuted to the hilt.

I am referring to the arrogant defiance of the board of directors of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco)to a directive from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to postpone the bidding for an Investment Management Contract (IMC). The directive was to give more time to at least two of the five bidders to do their due financial diligence to arrive at a conclusion that would be beneficial to both Zamcelco and the two bidders, just in case any of them won the contract.

But, no. Callousness is the noun I pick that should be affixed to their titles, for they have shown no respect for NEA, the agency that supervises the operations of all electric cooperatives in the country. Since when did Zamcelco become autonomous? Why the haste in awarding the contract that is intended to SAVE Zamcelco from the brink of financial catastrophe — an electric cooperative that is nearing bankruptcy and soon to be called an “electric inoperative.”

Get a load of this: Two IMC bidders - Filinvest Utilities and Nikola requested more time to do their due financial diligence to strengthen their proposals. The request was granted by the Special Bids and Award Committee (SBAC) of Zamcelco and the opening of the bids was moved to September 10 from the original August 30. That was yesterday. The IMC consultant of Zamcelco concurred with the postponement of the opening of the bids.

Susmariajosep, for some mysterious reasons, the Zamcelco board, acting like they own the power firm, nullified the SBAC recommendation for bid extension and proceeded with the opening of the bids yesterday.

Further establishing themselves as dictators, the Zamcelco board DEFIED the position of NEA concurring with the decision of the SBAC to postpone the bidding. Furthermore, the board ignored a NEA memorandum PROHIBITING electric cooperatives from being parties to any Private Sector Participation with investors on the management and operation of other ECs. Adding insult to injury, the Zamcelco board for no reason at all ABOLISHED its own SBAC and declaring itself as the SBAC.

With no more encumbrances, the bidding pushed through as scheduled yesterday and the lone winning bidder was Crowne Investments.

Sanamagan! Why, in Duterte’s name, did Zamcelco President Omar Sahi and some kindergarten-thinking members of the board, defyingly ignore the NEA administrator’s “stop order” and the recommendation of the SBAC to extend the bidding for an IMC?

The primary reason why NEA took over the operations of Zamcelco two weeks ago was to guarantee a smooth, timely, orderly and transparent process for the selection of a CREDIBLE and EXPERIENCED power distributor to take control of the administration, management and operations of Zamcelco for at least 25 years.

First, we’d like to know what Crowne Investment is. We’d like to know its track record as far as power distribution is concerned. This much we know: Crowne is currently partnered with and electric cooperative - Aselco - in violation of NEA’s memo prohibiting ECs from being parties to any Private Sector Participation with investors on the management and operation of other ECs. Thus, Crowne is technically disqualified as an IMC  bidder.

For its defiance and ignorance of the rules and regulations regarding the conduct of an IMC, those guilty should be fired!

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata!