7 December 2022
PRIME MINISTER SAM MATEKANE REJECTS OFFER TO DISCUSS ENDING
FRAZER SOLAR DISPUTE WITH FORMER BRITISH ATTORNEY GENERAL
An attempt made by Britain’s former Attorney General Sir Geoffrey Cox to mediate in the ongoing legal dispute between Frazer Solar and the Kingdom of Lesotho has been rejected by Prime Minister Sam Matekane.
In early November 2022, Sir Geoffrey Cox sent an introductory letter to the Prime Minister, communicating his willingness to discuss with Mr Matekane and his advisors whether an amicable resolution to the long-running Frazer Solar dispute could be obtained.
Sir Geoffrey was invited by Frazer Solar to reach out to Mr Matekane as an independent mediator, not as a legal representative of the company. Sir Geoffrey is well suited to this role as he has been a practicing barrister for 40 years and was appointed Queen’s Counsel (now King’s Counsel) in 2003. During the past 19 years, Sir Geoffrey has represented governments, corporations and individuals in negotiations, mediations and international arbitrations and other matters around the world. Sir Geoffrey has been a British Member of Parliament since 2005, and served two British Prime Ministers as Attorney General from 2018 to 2020.
Via lawyers, Mr Matekane rejected Sir Geoffrey’s offer, labelling it as ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unauthorised’.
A Frazer Solar spokesman said: “Sir Geoffrey’s offer to act as an impartial mediator should have reminded Mr Matekane that the ongoing dispute is a serious matter with real consequences, and that it is not something that can be ignored or wished away. The recent ruling by the High Court of Lesotho is irrelevant because it was made too late, almost three years after the independent arbitrator’s ruling. In addition, the High Court has no jurisdiction over an international arbitration process that will continue to be recognised as valid by jurisdictions around the world. The fact remains that the Government of Lesotho owes Frazer Solar €50 million plus costs and interest.
“Although this problem was not caused by Mr Matekane, he is fully responsible for its resolution. Basotho will judge the wisdom of his decision to ignore this clear opportunity to end the case once and for all.
As we enter 2023, Frazer Solar will expand its legal battle into new jurisdictions, with future investigations likely to bring international scrutiny onto allegedly corrupt financial dealings involving Lesotho government officials.”
Notes to Editors
In January 2020, an independent arbitrator ruled in Frazer Solar’s favour concerning a series of contractual breaches committed by the Kingdom of Lesotho, related to a renewable energy project developed by the company. Lesotho was ordered to pay Frazer Solar €50 million in damages but failed to do so.
Consequently, in May 2021, Frazer Solar’s lawyers commenced a worldwide enforcement action against assets held by the Kingdom.