Corruption probe into power ships: Lebanon acts against Karpowership

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Karpowership "Shark" Class
Karpowership "Shark" Class

Lebanese authorities have reportedly launched a crackdown on the company that is supposed to provide South Africa with electricity via power ships.

Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) reports that the local authorities have issued on order to stop payments to Turkish energy company Karpowership, and ban its ships from leaving Lebanon.

According Arabnews.com, the decision was based on preliminary probe by Lebanon's Financial Prosecutor’s Office into "brokers, commission, or corruption in the dealership of ships producing electricity".

The state news agency reported that authorities could fine the company $25 million (roughly R356 million), if it was found that "commissions" were paid.

Karpowership is part of Turkey's Karadeniz energy group.

Its South African unit, Karpowership SA, has been named a preferred bidder in a programme to fast-track new power production to cut back on load shedding. It has bid to supply 1 220 MW of energy, by mooring five power ships and three gas ships in SA harbours for 20 years.

Karpowership SA previously said that it would be able to "assist in the country’s economic recovery" by providing a "reliable source of power for all sectors and industries in order to meet South Africa’s energy supply gap". 

While environmental groups have criticised the project, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has said the it will help cut down on load shedding. 

According to Karpowership's website, it has two floating power stations in Lebanon, the Fatmagül Sultan and Orhan Bey.

They have been in operation since 2013, supplying 404 MW of energy.

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