Puerto Rico Senate asks Comptroller to investigate Prepa contracts
SAN JUAN – While the executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa), Ricardo Ramos, asserts the contested contract with Whitefish Energy was not illegally granted, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz on Thursday requested the Comptroller’s Office conduct a “fast but thorough” investigation of contracts awarded by that public corporation.
In a letter addressed to Comptroller Yesmín Valdivieso, Rivera Schatz requested her office inquire about the contracts that the public corporation has granted following Puerto Rico’s ongoing emergency since Hurricane Maria struck the island, as well as to provide a “cost analysis of other available alternatives.”
The Senate leader also asked for information on available and estimated cash flow and billings generated and payments issued, at least until Oct. 31.
Thirty-six days after the hurricane hit the island, Rivera Schatz emphasized the investigation must be conducted “with the speed that millions of citizens demand, that they need the services of the [power] authority to be re-established as soon possible.” To date, the Prepa’s power has only been able to achieve 26% of it generation capacity.
The request for investigation comes after Gov. Ricardo Rosselló ordered the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to audit the Prepa contracts and asked the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security to also investigate the agreements.
This has not been the only request for an investigation to have transpired in the past few days. In the Legislative Assembly, Sen. Juan Dalmau Ramírez, from the Puerto Rican Independence Party, and Rep. Jesús Manuel Ortiz, from the Popular Democratic Party, also asked for investigations.
Meanwhile, with opposition from the central government, the fiscal control board announced Wednesday its intention to appoint Noel Zamot as Prepa’s chief transformation officer. Rosselló pointed out that the administration of public corporations falls only on those “democratically elected.”