Puerto Rico Justice secretary warns public utility about controversial contract
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez sent a letter Thursday to the chairman of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s (Prepa) Governing Board, Ernesto Sgroi, in which she indicates that the consulting contract given to Víctor Peña Vargas, an acquaintance of the public utility’s executive director, Walter Higgins, does not align with jurisprudence.
“Amid a people plunged in a deep economic crisis, an unstable authority [Prepa] before and after the two terrible hurricanes that affected Puerto Rico, we urge you to exercise the disbursement of public funds prudently,” her three-page letter reads.
Vázquez then points out that Act 66 establishes that “no contract of employment or professional services with any Agency, Corporation or Public Instrumentality … may agree to, approve any contractor or official any remuneration or bonus” for productivity.
“This communication has no intention of prejudging the apparent allegations that have transpired in the media. Rather, it is my interest to bring before your attention the legal provisions that, in one way or another, could be directly or indirectly related to such accusations,” adds Vázquez in the letter revealed by the Radio Isla station.
On Wednesday, the interim Chief of Staff Luis Rivera Marín admitted that he approved Peña Vargas’s $315,000 contract, based on the information that was sent to him at that time, which was a procedural document, not the contract.