Trouble at mill as Tenerife Cabildo starts legal proceedings about what it claims are serious financial irregularities at ITER

The Tenerife Cabildo started legal proceedings last week in respect of what it alleges are financial irregularities amounting to €12m in ITER, the Renewable Energies Technology Institute with a base on the east coast near TFS. Innovation Councillor Enrique Arriaga said that the proceedings are connected with the company Napwaci which was responsible between 2007 and 2011 for installing a technology network centre in Geneto “despite the place not being the most suitable for a submarine cable”.

The Councillor said that he hoped the proceedings would “clarify responsibilities” in view of what he described as financial damage suffered by the Institute after money was diverted into Napwaci to conceal its losses. He said too that Napwaci had bought the Geneto parcel of land in 2007 and then sold it five years later to ITER which also paid €4m for a project that had already been built for €250,000. With Napwaci’s unprofitability, ITER requested loans and increased capital investment until 2011, when the company was dissolved with the shares being bought by ITER for €3m, a sum that makes little sense, Arriaga said, given the company’s dissolved status and the fact that it was its debts that were being bought. The Councillor suggested that four private investors’ shares were exchanged for shares in solar energy company Solten II, which generates “considerable profits”.

It sounds like a film plot but it is very sad given the potential for satisfying future sustainability that ITER so very clearly represents. Whatever the truth(s) behind these extraordinary claims and this legal action, we must hope that clarity ensues … and that the work of the Institute is not damaged, and can continue to provide a route map to enable these islands to become as self-reliant as possible with renewable energy.