GERMAN solar energy company, Frazer Solar engulfed in a legal fight with the government of Lesotho over a series of contractual breaches related to a renewable energy project signed in 2018 is adamant about pursuing Lesotho’s assets in other international jurisdictions, despite losing a similar case in Belgium recently.
Dec. 15, 2022
4 min read
Frazer Solar commits to pursuing Lesotho assets
Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Nthomeng Majara
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Frazer Solar is a global developer of utility-scale and nationally significant renewable energy projects.
The announcement to pursue Lesotho’s assets comes after the government of Lesotho indicated that the case filed by its lawyers against Frazer Solar had been finalised and a judgment granted in favour of Lesotho, thus, effectively reversing the earlier decision which was granted in favour of Frazer Solar.
The development, among others, resulted in the unfreezing of the bank account belonging to Lesotho’s embassy in Brussels, Belgium, which had previously been frozen by an order of court in that European country. The High Court of Lesotho also ordered the German company to pay the lawsuit costs to the tune of M95 000.
But in a statement released this week, Frazer Solar said: “The Belgium court is considering a technical point raised by Lesotho but Frazer Solar’s legal proceedings to seize the Kingdom’s asserts are continuing in this country. The independent arbitration award of 50 million Pounds plus costs and interest to Frazer Solar is full and final. It will continue to be recognized in courts around the world regardless of the October Lesotho High Court decision.
“Following Prime Minister Matekane’s refusal to engage in mediation, Frazer Solar is even more committed than ever to pursue the Kingdom of Lesotho’s assets in additional international jurisdictions.”
The Belgium court had recognized Frazer Solar GmbH’s 50 million Pounds arbitration award against Lesotho’s assets in Belgium, including the bank account of Lesotho embassy in Brussels.
In January 2020, an independent arbitrator awarded Frazer Solar 50 million Pounds in damages after the contract it signed with the Lesotho government failed to materialise.
In a twist of events, the government charged Frazer together with the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Temeki Tšolo of fraud, corruption, and abuse of power.
Tšolo is alleged to have signed the contract without the approval of either Cabinet or the Minister of Finance.
The case was committed to the High Court on November 8 for trial.
Earlier in November 2022, Frazer Solar announced it have seized the country’s assets in Belgium, including the bank accounts of the Lesotho embassy in Brussels.
In response, Lesotho promised to do everything in its power to protect its assets in Belgium and elsewhere.
The developments followed a previous ruling by the High Court that declared the deal signed by Frazer Solar and Lesotho in 2018 unlawful.
But in a statement after the court decision, Frazer Solar came out with guns blazing, saying it regarded the ruling as irrelevant because the company had a legal award from an independent arbitrator that is final, unappealable, and globally enforceable.
“The judges have confirmed that the government of Lesotho chose the wrong method with which to proceed with Frazer Solar’s renewable energy project. We acted in good faith throughout by proceeding with the procurement rules provided by government officials.
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“If the government thought that the High Court’s decision could be used as a further delaying tactic, then they face an unpleasant surprise. The Belgium court’s recent ruling in Frazer Solar’s favour demonstrates our ability to target the Kingdom’s assets and bank accounts anywhere in the world.
“The High Court’s decision will only serve to accelerate our plans to launch fresh enforcement proceedings across multiple legal jurisdictions,” Frazer Solar said in the statement.
Deputy Prime Minister Justice Nthomeng Majara this week announced that the earlier decision, which was granted in favour of Frazer Solar had been reversed.
“Today, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the case which was filed by the lawyers before the Belgian Court to set aside the order, which Frazer Solar obtained without notice to the Kingdom, was heard at the beginning of this month and judgment was granted in favour of the Kingdom, effectively reversing the earlier decision which was granted in favour of Frazer Solar. This means that the Lesotho Embassy’s bank account has since been unfrozen,” she said.
She reiterated that the government of Lesotho committed to doing everything in its power to protect its assets and investments in and out of the country against Frazer Solar.