Local July 27, 2012 | 8:21 am

Energy chief’s “mafia” gaffe likely to backfire

SANTO DOMINGO.- Amid allegations of “rushed” contracts and unexplained halts to major projects, the head of the state-owned Electric Utility (CDEEE) yesterday said "we’ve gone beyond the mafia that was here before.”

Celso Marranzini’s surprising statement is sure to stoke those sectors which await August 16, when president elect Danilo Medina takes office, on expectations of the utility chief’s removal.

The official’s predecessor, Radhames Segura, was fired amid Marranzini’s allegations of corrupt practices, including widespread nepotism.

Segura however is a member of the ruling PLD party’s Political Committee, its top echelon, and also a close collaborator of Medina’s.

“A shift toward an electric solution is definitely underway," the official said in a speech for the seminar "Social energy management summary."

Marranzini said many of the useless electrical works which had been concluded were taken over by the mafia, though already extinguished in the current administration. "We’re leaving behind a culture of bravado, of arrogance and a vertical power which felt it was above the electricity sector’s clients."

"A power which gave no explanation or apologized to its users, but much less taking them into account when performing electrical works, many of which failed because the mafia took them over," he said. “That mafia wants to return.”

Blocked project

Last month when DT asked Marranzini why a major natural gas-fired project in Manzanillo of the U.S. company North Energy Central (NEC) was halted by the CDEEE, he said it was because of requirements on a call for tenders, even though the proposal didn’t require such procedure.

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