CBE’s complaint alleges a number of complex breaches to the Guidelines, starting with the manner in which National Grid Transco (NGT) had acquired the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) plc. NGT negotiated, obtained and accepted exemptions in their agreements with respect to environmental and safety regulations on behalf of CEC. CEC enjoys considerable non-uniform, discriminatory, undue or improper advantages through waivers, powers or immunity. The financial and tax incentives given to CEC are alleged to have resulted in an unstable macroeconomic environment by having increased the tax burden on the poor, having introduced discriminatory treatment and massive externalisation of funds. CEC’s monopoly in supplying electricity has led to some mine operators being treated favourably while others have gone out of business. The complaint also alleges that CEC has failed to co-operate with its 350 employees to mitigate the effects of collective lay-offs despite the company’s wide profit margin.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Version 2000 Chapter II
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.5
- Version 2000 Chapter IV
- Version 2000 Chapter IV Paragraph IV.6
- Version 2000 Chapter IX
- Version 2000 Chapter IX Paragraph IX.1 Subparagraph IX.1.A
- Version 2000 Chapter IX Paragraph IX.1 Subparagraph IX.1.D
- Version 2000 Chapter IX Paragraph IX.2
- Version 2000 Chapter IX Paragraph IX.3
- Version 2000 Chapter VI
- Version 2000 Chapter VI Paragraph VI.1
- Version 2000 Chapter VII
- Version 2000 Chapter VII Paragraph VII.4
- Version 2000 Chapter X
- Version 2000 Chapter X Paragraph X.0
In November 2003, NGT expressed a willingness to engage, but asserted that the Guidelines have not been breached. NGT argued that since its investment in CEC came into force in November 1997, application of those provisions that came into existence during the 2000 revision of the Guidelines should be excluded. The UK NCP insisted CBE produce more information, which resulted in the case being stalled for over year.
In March 2005, a NGT representative stated directly to the UK NCP that the company is anxious to bring the case to a close at an OECD Watch multi-stakeholder event. NGT was critical of the UK NCP for its lack of action. In April 2005, the NCP wrote to CBE threatening to close the case. CBE replied challenging the fairness of such an action. CBE requested help in obtaining additional documentation from the Zambian parliamentary committee responsible for energy. Zambia does not have a Freedom of Information Act. Given the fact the NCP insisted on further information before the case can proceed, CBE believes it would be unreasonable for the NCP to close the case. In July 2005, the NCP closed the case citing “want of prosecution”.
- Company in violation
- Other companies involved
- Affected people
- Date rejected / concluded
- 1 July 2005