The details of the government’s contracts with PV Energy will be made public within days, the government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst has said.
Hurst reported in his post Cabinet notes, over the weekend, that the government decided to make the details of the now controversial deal public, following approval from both the offices of the Attorney General and the Prime Minister.
“We are going to release it soon, somewhere between the next 24 to 48 hours,” Hurst said in an interview with this reporter on Monday.
“We just wanted to ensure that it’s a copy signed by both parties that we send out to you (media houses) … so we will get it out to you soon,” the government spokesman explained.
He, however, said that based on the Cabinet’s assessment, there was nothing “untoward” with the deals the Antigua and Barbuda Public Utilities Authority (APUA) entered with PV Energy, on behalf of the government.
The government’s dealings with the company raised concern among sections of the citizenry on May 11, when a U.K. High Court, in a judgement, revealed that two men – British billionaire Peter Virdee and a PV Energy employee, Dieter Trutschler – had been taped discussing an attempted shake-down by MP Asot Michael, who also tried to solicit gifts from one of them.
Virdee is wanted in Germany for alleged tax evasion, linked to energy projects.
It was later revealed that the second man, Trutschler was involved in a US $4.3 million energy company fraud scandal in another country in 2002.
Apart from being an employee, Trutschler has another connection to PV Energy through his wife, who owns a company, that owns shares in PV Energy.
Virdee is the principal of PV Energy and the company is responsible for the solar energy project on George Walter Highway.
Hurst said that the method of financing the project was “innovative but transparent, and capable of open public scrutiny” based in the Cabinet’s assessment.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has rejected calls for authorities in Antigua and Barbuda to probe MP Michael’s alleged illicit involvement with Virdee and Trutschler.
He explained that the British government is already probing the issue and the government is “cooperating fully”.