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CBE vs. National Grid Transco

Case overview

Date filed 25 July 2003
Current status Concluded
Issue NGT's mining practices in Zambia
Summary of the case 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.

Developments/Outcome 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".
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Labour rights, Seeking/ accepting exemptions, Taxation, Anti-competitive practices, Bribery / Corruption

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point United Kingdom
NCP address 1-19 Victoria Street SW1H 0ET London, United Kingdom
NCP website
Other NCPs involved



Company Information

Company responsible National Grid Transco plc
Company address
United Kingdom
Company website
Company in violation National Grid Transco plc
Country of operations Zambia
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
1 July 2005 National Contact Point United Kingdom statement The NCP issued a statement closing the case for 'want of prosecution.'  
25 July 2003 Citizens for a Better Environment file Complaint filed with UK NCP. download pdf (62Kb)  

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