Washington: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has opened an inquiry into a $300 million energy contract that Puerto Rico had secured with a US firm only to cancel it later, it is reported.
The Montana-based Whitefish Energy Holdings was contracted to rebuild the damaged electrical grid that was destroyed by hurricanes that struck the island, it is reported.
If the FBI’s preliminary inquiry develops into a full investigation of the contract, it would join several other reviews of the contract already underway, sources said on Monday.
However, it was not immediately clear what the FBI was investigating.
On October 27, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has a large role in determining US government reimbursements, said it had “significant concerns” about how the contract was secured, it is reported.
In response, the island nation’s Governor Ricardo Rossello said on Sunday: “As a result of the information that has been revealed and the need to protect the public interest, as governor I am asking the power authority to cancel the Whitefish contract immediately.”
Meanwhile, Whitefish Energy spokesman Ken Luce said the company has not been contacted by the FBI.
“While Whitefish is not aware of any such investigation, Whitefish is committed to full cooperation with any inquiry or investigation,” Luce said.
“The procurement of the PREPA (Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority) contract was at all times fully appropriate. Our focus continues to be on our work in Puerto Rico completing the work PREPA has tasked Whitefish to complete including the repair of the second major transmission line.”
About 80 per cent of Puerto Ricans still have no electricity.