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The Regulator not apologizing to the EPC Board and Chairman

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 14 APRIL 2023: The Regulator, Lematua Gisa Fuatai Purcell is not apologising to the former EPC Board Chairman, Pepe Christian Fruean who demanded an apology from the Regulator due to her letter to the Minister of the Regulator’s Office dated 15 December 2022.

In that letter, the Regulator recommended that Cabinet review and remove the chairman and the EPC Board after a power purchase agreement was given a French company EDF/Granite to produce and sell electricity to EPC that she deemed illegal.

According to the Regulator, the contract between EPC and EDF/Granite was illegal because it did not comply with the requirements of the EPC Act 2010, and that their operation was illegal because they did not have a Generation License.

On 24 February this year, EPC Board wrote to the Regulator citing “unfounded and false allegations” regarding the legality of EPC’s dealing with EDF/Granite Power Company, SFS and Shanghai e-Power.

The Board stated that the contract deal was legal.

The Board also demanded a retraction and a public apology from the Regulator.

The Regulator confirmed with Talamua this week that she was not apologising to Pepe and the former EPC board and she did not go into detail.

Pepe had since been replaced as EPC Chairman at the expiry of his term and new members have been appointed by Cabinet to the utility’s Board.

Regulator Apologizes to Oloipola Terence Betham
Meanwhile, Lematua confirmed with Talamua that she has apologized to businessman Oloipola Terence Betham who she named in the same letter dated 15 December 2022.

She did not disclose the details of the apology.

Oloipola’s lawyer Fiona Ey demanded an apology for the Regulator naming that Oloipola was a former Chairman of the EPC Board and implied an “unlawful contract process and abuse of a Government position.”

On 01 March 2023, Ey wrote to the Regulator informing her that although Oloipola was on two Government Boards, he was never a Chairman nor a board member of EPC.

Ey then gave the Regulator, 7 days from the date of receipt of the letter to apologise, but at that time, the Regulator was overseas.