As the general elections approach, Ivan Collendavelloo's Muvman Liberater is positioning itself and expressing its desire to participate fully in this election, while hoping to put an end to the St-Louis affair once and for all.

The debates on the St-Louis case are intensifying. After the reaction of the Financial Crimes Commission (FCC) following the cancellation of the provisional charges against Shamshir Mukoon, former General Manager of the Central Electricity Board (CEB), last week, it is another key player in this case who is making himself heard.

Ivan Collendavelloo, who had refrained from commenting on recent developments regarding Shamshir Mukoon, spoke about the investigation into the alleged corruption surrounding the electric motors for the St. Louis power plant at a meeting of the Muvman Liberater (ML) leadership last week. His statements assume particular significance in the run-up to the general elections. Insisting once again on his innocence in the matter, he said: “I don't have any problems, I hope that one day I finish with these words and that the king will 'case' the king and put it in the same place.”

The recent statement adds a new dimension to this affair, revealed in 2020 following a press release from the African Development Bank (AfDB) denouncing corruption surrounding the acquisition of engines for the St-Louis power plant.

It is also worth noting the FCC's firm stance. Indeed, although the provisional charges against Shamshir Mukoon have been dropped, the commission insists that it can still file a main case in court. According to a source familiar with the matter at the FCC, the St. Louis case is far from over, with many developments that could arise.

For his part, Ivan Collendavelloo, former No. 2 in the government, has been summoned once to provide his explanations. Given the progress of the investigation, a new summons to the FCC cannot be ruled out. This affair therefore continues to cause a stir and could see new developments until the general elections.

In the ML, in addition to Ivan Collendavelloo's defense claiming his innocence in the St-Louis affair, several party officials believe that the recent judgment of magistrate Gavindren Coolen is unequivocal on the real instigators behind this affair. “The Icac got its hands on a series of emails exchanged between representatives of Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC), the firm PADCO, Bertrand Lagesse and Swaley Kasenally, who was an advisor to the MMM on energy policy,” stressed a member of the ML.

Also, for this party and for those close to Ivan Collendavelloo, the judgment handed down last week also highlights the fact that all the negotiations around the acquisition of these engines for the plant date back to 2010, well before Ivan Collendavelloo was appointed Minister of Public Services and Energy. “The judgment revealed that Swaley Kasenally had a consultancy contract with BWSC for the St-Louis project, from October 2012. Between 2010 and 2014, Shamshir Mukoon held the position of head of planning and research at the CEB. He was in charge of liaising with the CEB consultant for the project. Mukoon's section was responsible for the conceptualisation, supervision and implementation of the rehabilitation of the St-Louis project,” it is reported.

Confidential documents

Ivan Collendavelloo's entourage also points out that although the first call for tenders was launched in June 2014, several emails exchanged between the parties took place before that date. “These documents were confidential and intended only to be circulated within the CEB. Swaley Kasenally had no legitimate reason to possess these documents, as confirmed by the judgment,” it is emphasized.

The judgment highlighted the importance of the confidentiality of such documents, as their disclosure to potential bidders could give them an unfair advantage over others.

On the political front, Ivan Collendavelloo's statement illustrates his determination to participate in the next general elections, despite the uncertainties surrounding his party, which has been relegated to the background since his dismissal in 2020 from his post as Deputy Prime Minister.

Moreover, with the creation of the Linite Militant platform, led by Alan Ganoo and Steven Obeegadoo, the fragility of the ML has increased further. According to several observers, the political influence of Obeegadoo and Ganoo in urban constituencies could benefit the MSM, while Ivan Collendavelloo and his party seem to be losing ground in these areas.

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