LF Rejects 'Forcing Lebanese to Choose' between Darkness and Power Ships

A controversial plan to lease power generating vessels will likely worsen the dispute between political parties after it has been put down for voting in the Cabinet, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.

The Lebanese Forces said they “reject forcing the Lebanese to choose between darkness and power barges.”

Sources of the LF told the daily: “During discussions of the budget (last week), we have asked for a plan with the aim of reducing squandering and securing electricity. Although we have initially approved the plan, but the illegal and non-competitive procedure of selection and prosecution led to the suspension of the interim production deal because it was not properly carried out.”

“The file is at the Shura Council now because it was rejected by the Tender's Department and challenged by some ministers in addition to the Lebanese Forces,” they said.

In November 2017, the Tender's Department said three companies bidding to provide electricity in Lebanon failed to meet requirements, leaving Turkish Karadeniz firm -- operator of the Fatmagul Sultan and Orhan Bey vessels that Lebanon has been leasing since 2012-- the only company to have met requirements.

But under Lebanese law no award can be made if there is only one qualified bidder.

The LF source stressed that “insistence to have only one company carry out the task is rejected,” pointing out that a number of solutions were turned down.

“Many companies have submitted better solutions, and the amendments to the book of conditions as per the Cabinet remarks were rejected. A state offer to provide a land lot to establish a power plant on land were excluded as were gas solutions, which are less expensive. The book of conditions became tailored to meet the measurement of a power barge that could sail within days of a nearby shore,” said the sources.

“We refuse under any circumstances to force the Lebanese to choose between darkness and the ships. We maintain our position of the need to adopt the legal mechanisms,” concluded the source.

Minister Abi Khalil, of the Free Patriotic Movement, was accused of “tailoring” the book of terms to secure the win of Karadeniz firm.

Source: Naharnet

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