The decision comes amid an investigation regarding the management of MASEN, a public company in charge of sustainable energy.
Rabat – Morocco has recently prevented Moroccan businessman and politician Mustapha Bakkoury from leaving the country amid an ongoing investigation for “mismanagement” of the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN).
Authorities prevented Bakkoury, former secretary-general of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), from taking a flight to the UAE on Monday.
King Mohammed VI appointed Bakoury as CEO for MASEN in December 2009.
Bakkoury’s three month absence from the company’s main activities raised eyebrows and questions.
A source close to Bakkoury told Le360 that the ban comes “within the framework of an investigation which would concern the management of MASEN.”
The investigation focuses on “the poor management of this state establishment.”
A 2020 report from the Economic, Social, and Environmental Council cited a deficit of MAD 800 million ($88.34 million) per year for the Noor I, II, and III power stations.
The Noor project is among the flagship solar energy projects in Morocco’s Ouarzazate.
“This deficit is due to the gap between the purchase prices at [an Independent Power Producer] IPPs and the selling prices at ONEE.”
The report criticized MASEN’s “technological choices” for the first project and the cost.
For the council, this deficit should not increase “in view of the competitiveness gained on new projects. It should not be absorbed naturally either unless part of the gains made by the new photovoltaic and wind projects are used to cover the losses under a specific agreement with ONEE.”
The council warned that the financial imbalance of the two main public enterprises in the sector (MASEN and ONEE) requires the state’s vigilance to “make the necessary” arbitrations.
“This will prevent a significant impact on state finances, a delay in the transformation of the energy sector, and a loss of attractiveness of the Moroccan energy sector for private investors.”
On October 22, 2020, King Mohammed VI also expressed concerns regarding setbacks and delays in prominent energy projects.
The King expressed his concerns during a work meeting dedicated to the country’s renewable energy strategy.
In the meeting, the King also underlined delays in the execution of the energy strategy, stressing the need to complete the strategic project “on time and under the best conditions.”
Developing renewable energy solutions such as wind, hydraulic, and solar power is a priority as Morocco works to reduce its energy imports.
Morocco aims to source 45% of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2020 and 52% by 2030.
The country also invested more than MAD 52 billion ($5.65 billion) in the field of renewable energy over the past 10 years.
The country seeks to invest another $5.65 billion into the sector in the coming years.