- Minister Paulwell sought to clarify the bidding process by responding to three of the Contractor-General’s conclusions.
- The Energy Minister denied any inappropriate behaviour or intervention in the bidding process.
- The Energy Minister denied that he made inaccurate statements about the project in his contribution to the 2013/2014 Budget Debate.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Phillip Paulwell has responded to the report presented by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) on the 360 megawatts power plant project.
In a written response tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 24, Minister Paulwell sought to clarify the bidding process by responding to three of the Contractor-General’s conclusions.
In a 74-page report tabled in Parliament on September 17, the OCG concluded that the Minister’s intervention and acceptance of the bid from Energy World International Ltd. (EWI) compromised the integrity of the process.
However, the Energy Minister denied any inappropriate behaviour or intervention in the bidding process, explaining that it was a Cabinet decision to direct the Office of the Utilities Regulation (OUR) to evaluate, along with the three shortlisted entities, the additional unsolicited proposal from EWI.
“The OUR, by way of letter dated April 23, 2013, addressed to the Chairman of the National Contracts Commission (NCC), which is the competent authority under the Contractor General Act, to approve and oversee the award of Government contracts – sought approval to include EWI in the process,” he said.
“The NCC, in a letter to the Cabinet Secretary, dated May 9, 2013, indicated it had no objection to the inclusion of EWI, provided certain conditions were met,” he added.
Mr. Paulwell said on that basis, it was “inappropriate and baseless” for the OCG to accuse him of improper intervention and to be questioning the inclusion of EWI, in light of the NCC approval.
Additionally, the Energy Minister denied that he made inaccurate statements about the project in his contribution to the 2013/2014 Budget Debate, as was purported in the OCG report.
He stated that the Contractor-General came to this conclusion without referring to the rest of his presentation, and without explaining the context in which certain words were used.
Mr. Paulwell also refuted the OCG’s conclusion that he engaged in inappropriate and irregular conduct, which prevented other investors from getting the opportunity to meet with him, as others did during the process.
In the meantime, Minister Paulwell also acknowledged the commendations of the Contractor General in respect of the handling of the processes undertaken in regard to the Generation of 115 MW of renewable energy to the grid, and for the auction of the 700 MHZ band.