Former BEL execs walked off with $2.7 mil: PM Barrow

[Linked Image] Prime Minister Dean Barrow revealed on the KREM WUB this morning that the former management of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) had paid itself $2.7 million on Friday, June 17, days before the Government stepped in to take control of the company, on Monday, June 20; yet they could not find money to pay for power from their suppliers.

At the time of the Government takeover, BTL had been getting millions in prepayments from the Government, in order to pay its Mexican supplier.

Barrow told Amandala that BELís chairman Rodwell Williams reported to him last Friday that the $2.7 million payout had happened.

Asked if there were any other unusual transactions that occurred before the Government takeover of the company, Barrow said that the five Belizean executives of BEL (who had voluntarily terminated themselves) had all their vehicles transferred to the Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), who gave back the executives the vehicles, said Barrow.

Fortis Inc., the company from which Government took 70% of BEL at the time of the takeover, owns BECOL.

The local executives were Lynn Young, then President and Chief Executive Officer; Joseph Sukhnandan, then Vice President, Engineering & Energy Supply; Rene Blanco, then Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer; Curtis Eck, then Vice President Customer Care & Operations; and Juliet Estell, the Company Secretary.

Among those paid from the $2.7 million, said Barrow, were two Fortis managers who had been working in Belize, but he is not sure what happened with their vehicles.

Barrow said that it appears from its press release last week that Fortis is not challenging the Government takeover, but that the company wants its compensation.

He said that Government is inviting Fortis to submit its quantified claims, but if Government and Fortis cannot agree, the matter would have to be settled in court.

Live and let live