This week, the Zimbabwean newspaper Zimbabwe Independent revealed that local government minister July Moyo has been implicated in a tender scandal of €120M involving the construction of a waste incinerator at a landfill close to the capital Harare.
A Brief Overview of Integrated Energy in Albania
The company involved in the scandal is Integrated Energy BV, a Dutch shell company owned by Albanian business Klodian Zoto.
The story of Integrated Energy BV begins in May 2016, when the company, even before it was officially registered in the Netherlands, presented an unrequested proposition at the Ministry of Energy to construct a waste incinerator near Tirana on the basis of public–private partnership (PPP) for a thirty-year concession, at a value of €140 million. Board members of Integrated Energy BV have been previously involved in fraud.
On December 7, 2016, the government approved a Decision (VKM) that gives the company a bonus of 8% of the available points in the tender bidding process. Unsurprisingly, Integrated Energy won the tender process, which was developed without any form of public consultation.
In October 2017, Exit managed to contact Hans Wallage, one of the directors of Integrated Energy, who explained that although the company had no experience in waste management, Tirana’s tender was seen as an opportunity for good business by the company’s shareholders.
Since 2018, the municipality of Tirana has paid nearly €12 million to Integrated Energy, while no incinerator has yet been built, even though the initial estimates were valued at around €1 million per year.
Meanwhile, through several dubious construction, Integrated Energy has also acquired the ownership of the incinerator projects in Elbasan and Fier. The Albanian government has been active in repressing local protests against these project, which are damaging to the environment and health of local residents.
What Happened in Zimbabwe?
It appears that Integrated Energy followed similar paths in Zimbabwe. According to the Zimbabwe Independent, Zoto’s company “did not participate in the tendering process,” signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zimbabwean government even though it was “not among three companies, which responded to a tender invitation for the project” in 2018.
As in Albania, Integrated Energy proposed a public–private partnership at no cost for the state: “Sources say that [Integrated Energy] approached [Minister] Moyo when the second invitation was issued and offered to construct the plant on a build, operate and transfer arrangement for an as yet to be specified period.”
What is remarkable, is that Integrated Energy claimed to have “Company capital of around €120 million (US$135 million), €5 million (US$5,63 million) bank loan,” while “the rest would be financed through suppliers’ contracts and periodic payments by government,” according to Harare town clerk Hosiah Chisango. Three years ago, the newly registered company had a starting capital of only €50,000 and no employees. That’s an increase of 24,000%!
The main problem in uncovering the reality behind Integrated Energy BV is that it is currently registered as a postbox company in the Netherlands, one of the most prominent corporate tax havens in the world. As a result, the final beneficiaries of Integrated Energy and its money streams remain hidden from public scrutiny. Multiple Albanian concessions and PPPs have profited from the Dutch tax-haven status to siphon off large amounts of public money into unknown hands, making them the perfect vehicles for corruption and money laundering.