Nal­cor pro­cure­ment re­port­ing ques­tioned

Min­is­ter will look into whether law has been fol­lowed

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - EDITORIAL - BY JAMES MCLEOD

Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Siob­han Coady is check­ing with of­fi­cials in her depart­ment to see whether the gov­ern­ment and Nal­cor En­ergy have been break­ing the law for the past nine years.

Coady said she needed to look into the sit­u­a­tion af­ter New Demo­crat Leader Lor­raine Michael raised ques­tions about an ob­scure sec­tion of the En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion Act in ques­tion pe­riod in the House of As­sem­bly last Mon­day.

Michael pointed out that the law re­quires a re­port to be filed by Nal­cor En­ergy to the min­is­ter ev­ery six months de­tail­ing all sorts of pro­cure­ment.

“(Nal­cor) and its sub­sidiaries shall re­port to the min­is­ter on their pro­cure­ment ac­tiv­i­ties and shall in­clude a sum­mary of con­tracts en­tered into and the iden­ti­ties of sup­pli­ers to whom the con­tracts have been awarded ev­ery six months,” the En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion Act says.

The law also says that the min­is­ter must make this in­for­ma­tion pub­lic by tabling the re­ports in the House of As­sem­bly.

“I don’t think it’s ever been really lit­er­ally tabled in the House of As­sem­bly,” Coady told re­porters later.

Coady said that it might not be a big deal, be­cause when it comes to Muskrat Falls, Nal­cor has been pro­vid­ing monthly progress up­dates, and de­tails of all awarded con­tracts are sup­posed to be on­line.

But the con­tracts posted on­line don’t seem to in­clude so called “em­bed­ded con­trac­tors” — the con­sul­tants who make up roughly 90 per cent of the Muskrat Falls project man­age­ment team, who cost the cor­po­ra­tion on av­er­age $908 per day.

The Tele­gram has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing the is­sue of em­bed­ded con­trac­tors, who are not tech­ni­cally con­sid­ered to be Nal­cor em­ploy­ees, and there­fore their salaries don’t get dis­closed, even though they of­ten work full-time for Nal­cor for sev­eral years, work­ing a reg­u­lar desk in Nal­cor’s of­fices.

Michael pressed the point, “I will make it very clear again, the leg­is­la­tion says that Nal­cor and all sub­sidiaries will re­port on their pro­cure­ment ac­tiv­i­ties and shall in­clude a sum­mary of con­tracts en­tered into and the iden­ti­ties of sup­pli­ers. An in­di­vid­ual em­bed­ded con­tract is a sup­plier of a ser­vice and should be iden­ti­fied, have they de­manded that iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and if so why is it not made pub­lic?”

Coady said she had to look into it. “I per­son­ally be­lieve open­ness and trans­parency is very im­por­tant, so I’m go­ing back to see what the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the leg­is­la­tion has been, and why it has been that way,” she said.

But all of this is just about Muskrat Falls, which is only one Nal­cor sub­sidiary. When asked about whether she’s been get­ting twice-a-year re­ports from the other Nal­cor sub­sidiaries — the oil and gas di­vi­sion, the Bull Arm fab­ri­ca­tion site, and more — Coady said she wasn’t sure.

“They likely go to the depart­ment. I’ll check on that for you,” she said. “I don’t re­call see­ing them on my desk — pro­cure­ment specif­i­cally — so I’ll check on that for you.”

Coady was also asked last week about a blog post writ­ten by en­ergy critic Des Sul­li­van, who re­ported ma­jor prob­lems with the Muskrat Falls trans­mis­sion line tow­ers from Labrador to St. John’s.

Sul­li­van said that he got info from an anony­mous source who said that “the struc­tural in­tegrity of a se­lec­tion of 30 tow­ers was tested re­cently. The tests pro­duced a fail­ure rate of 100 per cent.”

Coady em­phat­i­cally that re­port.

“No struc­tural in­tegrity is­sues were found. I’m go­ing to re­peat that: no struc­tural in­tegrity is­sues were found,” she said.

“That means there’s no cost im­pli­ca­tions, no time or sched­ule im­pli­ca­tions and no safety im­pli­ca­tions. There were some mi­nor de­fi­cien­cies — as you would ex­pect in an in­spec­tion of that sort — and they’re be­ing worked through, but no struc­tural in­tegrity is­sues at all.” dis­puted

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