Millions stolen with not one solar water heater made
The short story: In 2006, your BLP Owen Arthur government “invested” $2.4 million dollars into a Nigerian solar water heater project. The Nigerian factory was never finished, not one water heater was made and your money is gone.
Question #1: Nigeria? What was Arthur thinking?
Question #2: For all the BLP “joint business ventures”, name one that was truly successful as a business.
There is the BLP hype about Owen Arthur being a brilliant economist, and then there is the reality. Owen Arthur borrowed 2.4 million dollars in your name,
loaned it threw it away in Nigeria on a project that any drunk (except our drunk) knew would fail – and now you and your children have to pay.
Not one job was created in Barbados or Nigeria, and your money is not only gone – it is untraceably gone. There was no accountability built into the project to ensure that the money “invested” on behalf of Barbados taxpayers was used as intended.
Your government “invested” $2.4 million dollars of your money in Nigeria, one of the most corrupt countries in the world. What did they think would happen?
Who took the money?
Nigeria. Joint business venture with our tax dollars. Everybody knew what was going to happen.
Owen Arthur is truly an idiot… or… did he or anyone else in government have a piece of the action as a shareholder, supplier or consultant?
Somebody in your government probably made a quick five or ten percent on your lost $2.4 million.
Without transparency and accountability laws, we’ll never know. In any event, conflicts of interest like that are not illegal in Barbados. Your government officials are free to take
kickbacks consultancy and supplier positions with companies that benefit from government grants, loans and contracts.
Compared to some of the past hits, the Nigerian solar water heater scam was a relatively small loss, but it perfectly illustrates why our country is on a downward slope without integrity, transparency and accountability laws. Once in power, the politician piggies have a field day and there is nothing that can be done.
You should read the news article at Barbados Today: Water heater write-off, but we’ll reprint the entire article here because the Bajan news media often removes or modifies news stories to change history and the BT gang did that when they worked at The Nation.
Gov’t loses $2.4 million in failed solar power project.
by Shawn Cumberbatch, Barbados Today
Government has lost almost $2.5 million on a Barbados/Nigeria solar venture that was launched with great fanfare and promise, but ended up being “a terrible failure”.
Barbados TODAY investigations revealed that the Freundel Stuart Administration decided to cut its losses worth more than $2.4 million, loaned to local company Aqua Sol Components Limited five years ago.
This was after the company teamed up with Barbadian interests and partners in the African nation to establish a solar water heating plant there.
Well-informed sources said Aqua Sol, which was recently renamed Solaris Global Energy Limited after being acquired by Solaris Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Mora Ven Holdings Limited, had found it difficult to repay the funds after the venture failed.
The money was borrowed from the Industrial, Investment and Employment Fund operated by the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited, and officials revealed that the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy had agreed to write off the amount owed by Aqua Sol.
This, they said, was except for $150,000, which the said company had previously owed “another financial institution”. In so doing EGFL was able to reversed this substantial amount in loan losses.
Efforts to reach EGFL CEO Timothy Simmons up to time of writing were unsuccessful, but another official, speaking anonymously because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, told Barbados TODAY a write-off of the loan was the best option in the circumstances because it was clear the institution would be unable to recover the substantial loan.
“The joint venture between Aqua Sol, other Barbadian investors and their Nigerian counterparts was an utter failure, so it stands to reason that there would have been some type of write-off of the investment,” the official noted.
“Aqua Sol was in a joint venture arrangement with a Nigerian company to manufacture and develop solar water heating units in Nigeria. That venture was a terrible failure, which did not materialise in the way expected for several reasons.”
“Subsequent to that fiasco, Aqua Sol has entered this new arrangement with a Trinidad company, but I doubt that arrangement will see it venturing into Nigeria anytime soon,” the official added.
The provisions under which EGFL operates gives it the leeway to write-off loans under certain conditions, this newspaper was informed.
“The fund writes off a loan/security balance, and any related allowances for impairment, when it determines that the loans/securities are uncollectable,” the specific policy stated.
“This determination is reached after considering information such as the occurrence of significant changes in the borrower’s/issuer’s financial position such that the borrower/issuer can no longer pay the obligation, or that proceeds from collateral will not be sufficient to pay back the entire exposure,” it added.
It was in late May 2006 when the announcement came that a consortium of Barbadian investors led by CEO of then named Aqua Sol, Vincent McClean, announced they would be partnering with public and private sector interests in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria to establish a $4.2 million solar water heating plant.
The expectation then was that by September of that year much of the structural work at the plant, to be run by a company called Akwa Sol Nigeria Limited would have been finished.
Plans at the time were for the production of 10,000 solar water heating units per year, but the venture soon ran into major difficulty, primarily of a financial nature. The fund from which the money now written-off was borrowed was “created to encourage development within the manufacturing sector, through the provision of concessionary financing to facilitate retooling and expansion of the industrial base”. It was started with an injection of $25 million in 2002.
At the end of last year the Industrial, Investment and Employment Fund had total assets of $8.2 million and total liabilities of more than $108,000.