NESOL paid out millions without written contract
State-owned National Energy Solutions Limited (NESOl) engaged the services of Peak Energy Solutions Limited and paid out millions of dollars without a written contract, Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) was told on Wednesday.
According to Opposition member of the PAAC, Fitz Jackson, “verbal corruption” allowed Peak Energy Solutions to be paid millions of dollars by NESOL.
The oversight committee, which was having its first meeting following the summer break, was told that a total of $12 million was paid to Peak Energy Solutions during the time that Carolyn Warren was Managing Director. Warren resigned in July after admitting to multiple drug convictions.
The PAAC was also told that the claims submitted by Peak Energy Solutions were approved by then Operations Engineer at NESOL, Lawrence Pommels.
He is before the courts after he and co-accused, mechanic Ricardo Harris were held with $85 million in cash and other valuables in June. Both men are facing money laundering, corruption and bribery charges and Pommels is on interdiction from NESOL.
Opposition member Phillip Paulwell told the committee that responses to questions submitted by PAAC members in relation to an ongoing police probe only served to raise additional questions.
As it relates to Peak Energy Solutions, Paulwell said the PAAC had enquired as to the value of the contract it had with NESOL. Committee members were in for a shocker when told how the (former) Ministry (of Science, Energy and Technology) responded.
“…I am quite startled that the report from the Ministry is that there was no written contract between Peak Energy Solutions Limited and NESol, even though further on, they went on to say that Peak Energy worked on 19 CAP (community access point) sites between October 2017 and July 2018, without a written contract, and have been paid," Paulwell said.
Paulwell pointed out that during that time, Warren was a director of the Universal Service Fund, and also chairman of the projects committee which contracted NESOl.
Paulwell’s revelation prompted committee chairman, Dr Wykeham McNeill to say: "There are specific, very specific government procurement procedures that must be followed. One of the roles of our committee is to ensure that the processes are properly followed. I cannot imagine a contract with a government entity that is not written. It's totally something outside of anything that I would have seen in all the years."
NESOL is one of the state-run entities that have been engulfed in a months-long scandal that has hobbled the Government and that fall under the purview of the former Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley.