The political leader of the opposition United Progressive Party is calling for an independent investigation into the allegations of corruption against Asot Michael.
Harold Lovell said transcripts of the surveilled telephone conversation revealed several names and there should also be an independent review of the contracts between the government and the P.V. Energy group.
“We need to know if there is more to it because obviously Asot Michael has been put out as the sacrificial lamb, he has been thrown under the bus, but, it is not clear if he acted alone,” Lovell said.
The UPP leader further stated that the documents revealed that there were promises to buy individuals expensive wrist watches and there was dialogue between the company and the government about a local project and one in St. Kitts and Nevis.
According to Lovell, these projects may be tainted after corruption allegations surfaced about Peter Virdee – a majority shareholder of the P.V.-Energy group
“We feel that there needs to be an investigation that looks at the genesis of the relationship with P.V. Energy and most importantly we understand that Antigua and Barbuda had to pay
U.S. $23 million for 10 megawatts of power that currently we are getting less than three megawatts of power consistently, it is alleged that another $7 million is to be paid for battery storage and we need to know if the people of Antigua and Barbuda got value for money,” he added.
Lovell said, “it is not enough to throw Asot under the bus,” and an in-depth investigation should reveal all the parties involved and identify all who would have benefitted from the contracts.
The political leader did not identify anyone best suited for the job, but, noted that the person or company contracted to carry out the investigation must be credible, fair, of integrity, and have a proven track record.
Michael tendered his resignation from the post of minister of Investment and Trade on May 15 and it took effect on May 17.