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CUBAN LIGHT BULB TRIAL: PCJ boss never questioned $60m spending

Published:Friday | September 6, 2013 | 12:40 PM

The former managing director of the State-owned Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Dr Ruth Potopsingh, this morning testified that she did not seek to ascertain how the $60 million funding for the Cuban light bulb programme was spent.

Potopsingh, who was giving evidence at the corruption trial involving former junior energy minister Kern Spencer, said instead she evaluated the project based on a report she received from the then Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce.

She said she also got reports from the Cuban Embassy and one of the supplier companies, Universal Management Development.

In addition, Potopsingh testified that an officer was assigned to verify distribution of company fluorescent lamps.

Yesterday, the former PCJ managing director testified that the State-owned company provided the $60 million even after the energy ministry failed to provide a breakdown of the $30 million it provided for the project a year earlier.

Potopsingh said the $30 million was provided in July 2006 and by July 2007 the energy ministry indicated that it had been exhausted.

She said after the PCJ board of directors approved the $30 million, she requested a project plan that would include a budget setting out how the resources would have been used.

She said her request was made in a letter that was copied to several senior ministry officials, but there was no response.

Dr Potopsingh is now being cross-examined by defense attorney Deborah Martin.

Spencer and his former personal assistant Colleen Wright are on trial in relation to the implementation of the Cuban light bulb project.

They are accused of benefiting improperly from its implementation.

Spencer and Wright are facing corruption and money laundering charges.


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