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Lawsuit enmeshes supporters of Myingyan natural Gas Plant

Myingyan gas-fired generating plant's international and domestic counterparts are involved in a lawsuit that represents an "important milestone" for the energy industry. There has been a case OF BITE between an investor in a showcase of the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.

Completion of the first stage of the USD 300 million and 225 megawatt Myingyan biomethane plant in the Mandalay region is imminent and is scheduled to start operation in December. Designed by Sembcorp Myingyan Energy, the system is considered critical to meet Myanmar's short-term energy needs. Singapore's Sembcorp Utilities and MMID Utilities, a Singapore-registered Myanmar-based entity, won a Myingyan bid for the Myingyan Utility in April 2015.

Myingyan's importance is far greater than the many GWh of electricity it will generate in the coming years. It is seen as an important advance for the energy industry, which has so far had difficulties attracting foreign investments. The people who have been supporting the scheme say that it meets global norms and, if implemented, could open the way for more energy independently.

However, a conflict over funding has clouded relationships between the parties and led to a flood of right-wing menaces from both sides. MMIDU Executive U Kyaw Paing brought a lawsuit in the Yangon Supreme Court in June to obtain an interim order to prevent Sembcorp Myingyan Powers from deleting the name of MMIDU from arrangements with the Chinese authorities, such as the electricity deed.

Kyaw Paing's 58/2017 claim to the Tribunal alleges that Sembcorp Myingyan Powers "ignores the plaintiff's participation in the scheme and attempts to delete the plaintiff's name from the scheme contracts concluded with governmental authorities without informing or obtaining the plaintiff's consent".

Proceedings were filed with the courts together with the evidence at the first trial on 8 November. Sembcorp' spokesman said to Frontier that the controversy had arisen because MMIDU had not contributed "its stake in the equity" to the Myingyan projekt. "During the course of the MMIDU research projects, Sembcorp has been involved in this issue on several occasions.

In view of the fact that the court cases in this case are now under way, it is inappropriate to go into more detail," the spokesman said, and added that the accusations against Sembcorp were "false and completely unfounded. Kyaw Paing acknowledged in an earlier conversation with Frontier that the MMIDU shareholders' quarrel related to the MMIDU scheme, but refused any proposal that it would not be able to provide the necessary funds.

Because of the continuing character of the case and the uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the Disregard of Courts Act in 2013, Frontier cannot disclose any further details of the case. This controversy was kept under lock and key until 19 October, when a Singapore-based business man, Mr Frankie Tan, gave a news briefing to announce the establishment of an organization known as Shareholder Protection Group Myanmar.

The controversy between Sembcorp and MMIDU was explained and he called it a "case study" why an organization like SPGM was necessary. Fronttier has decided not to disclose any further detail of what was said at the news conferencing due to the disregard of the Court Act (see below).

Frankie Tan, Executive Vice President of Sembcorp Myingyan Power Company, Mr. Tan Cheng Guan, on 24 October, said that it was "inappropriate and unsuitable for you to make a statement to third persons (and in particular the media) on the issue of such a procedure". "against Myanmar statute and/or the judge.

Note that we will take the measures we believe necessary to safeguard our prerogatives, pursue your disregard of the courts and/or prevent further violations of Myanmar law," the note sent to Frontier by Frankie Tan said. Sembcorp' s spokesman said the business is standing by its October 24 message to Frankie Tan.

Also in the October 24 epistle, Mr. Tan Cheng Guan asked why Frankie Tan filed the lawsuit when "your business MMID Utilities Pte Ltd filed the lawsuit". However, Frankie Tan later recounted to Frontier that he had retired from MMIDU on October 9 after an argument with Kyaw Paing, who blamed him for being on Sembcorp's side.

On October 14, he posted a statement in the state papers announcing that he was no longer affiliated with MMIDU. "U Kyaw Paing thinks I'm on the same side as Sembcorp Utilities. Actually, I am sorry I brought Sembcorp Utilities to Myanmar," said Frankie Tan. However, the disregard for legal proceedings does not only originate from Sembcorp's solicitors.

On 8 November, Kyaw Paing affirmed to Frontier that he had also filed a disregard of the lawsuit against his associate since the lawsuit was filed. The Myingyan project has been described as a big leap forward for Myanmar's energy industry, which has always been ruled by the state. Before Myingyan, participation by the privatesector was almost always on a JV base with the Department or through bilateral electricity purchasing arrangements, which proved much more expensive for the administration and risky for dev.

Myingyan is the first energy independence scheme to be tendered in a open tendering procedure. The result was a very competitively priced plan - the cost the state will pay the electricity producer - and the creation of a PPA scheme that could be used for further work.

Burma was also known for the commitment of the Asian Investment Bank, the Asian Investment Bank and various donors. This Myingyan facility will also use the CHP plants to transfer the exhaust air from a natural-gas turbine to a condensing boiler to maximize performance. Vikram Kumar, Head of Government at Vikram Kumar, said the Department had assisted the Department in structuring the scheme in line with best practice internationally through the creation of a public-private partnerships and a PPA.

IPP Myingyan was described by the Allen & Overy legal practice, which was also involved in the joint venture, in a July 2016 July 2016 study as an "important milestone" for the industry. Delivering the first electricity from the facility in the next few month will be the climax of a trial that began almost five years ago when the Ministry of Electricity asked for help in developing a PPA-type.

SMIDU Sembcorp was one of five consortia that made an offer for the PMIDU in October 2014. As part of the PPA, Sembcorp Myingyan will provide 22 years of electricity to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, after which the facility will be handed over to the state. Sembcorp said in a December 2015 declaration that it would have an 80 per cent share of the scheme, while MMID Utilities would own the other 20 per cent.

IFC has approved funding of $57 million for the Myingyan operation. It refused, however, to give its views on why its side describes the progress of the proposal as a" pending sign. Sembcorp' s spokesman said that IPP' s Myingyan site is'making good progress and is close to completion', with the start of the joint venture planned for May 2018.

Anyone convicted of a crime in violation of the Courts Act is facing a jail sentence of a maximum of six month. What is peccadillo? It is defined by the Act as an act - which includes publication - which scandalizes the courts, undermines the equity of a case or undermines the confidence of the general public in the legal system.

It was criticized by groups promoting free speech, with Human Rights Watch declaring in 2016 that it "severely restricts what can be spelled out about the facts of the case before the tribunal has ruled". In the Union's Supreme Court's Handbook on Media Access to the Courts, the only advice given to reporters is to "avoid the criticisms caused by disregard for the courts and against the judiciary (fair trial)".

The Myanmar Media Lawyers' Network registrar, U Than Zaw Aung, said that the publication of items containing commentaries from current trial participants or client could lead to disregard for the trial, especially if it "scandalizes" the trial or affects the equity of the trial. Oliver Spencer, a Free Expression Myanmar advisor, said that a good disregard of the judiciary should safeguard people's right to equity.

Poor compliance with judicial acts undermines the open judiciary and helps malevolent applicants to censure the press and oppress campaigners. Poor scorn statutes are often abused by efficient folks to conceal cases from the general population that would likely be appalled if they knew more," he said. The disregard of the tribunal was mentioned several occasions during the manufacture of this articles.

Sembcorp replied by warning Frontier Myingyan Power Company of disregard for judicial costs or other litigation when Frontier "published any article on the topic of e-mail retrieval, included but not restricted to Mr. Frankie Tan's commentary in your journal and/or during his news conference", when Frontier Sembcorp asked for an e-mail response at the beginning.

Fronttier declined to comply and the firm later declared its willingness to submit its views on the protocol.

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