Infamous power plant’s cost balloons to the billions
Sano Domingo.- Last week State Electric Utility (CDEEE) officials and Punta Catalina power plant executives said its construction would be completed with a of US$336.0 million contingency fund that wouldn’t affect the Government’s estimated cost for the work.
Punta Catalina is at the heart of the Odebrecht case, the country’s biggest-ever graft scandal, in which the Brazilian construction company admitted paying US$94.0 million in bribes to Dominican Govt. officials.
In that regard, budget expert José Rijo Presbot said the power plant’s initial US$1.9 billion cost had already been surpassed, even before the new fund was created.
He said the over US$2.3 billion initially estimated cost with some US$355.0 million, had already been allocated, by last July.
Rijo said that just during the first seven months, the Government had disbursed close to US$280.0 million for Punta Catalina’s construction, that were transferred from the funds of the electricity subsidy.
The fund’s origin
At the end of last week Finance minister Donald Guerrero said the US$336.0 million fund to finish the power plant was from the Government Budget.
Interviewed on the Channel 11 Telematutino program, the official said the government replaced spending budgeted for this year, with projects that were set to start operations for the third quarter of 2019.
According to of the electricity sector officials, the Punta Catalina contingency fund will be doled out as required, so that all of it isn’t needed “in one single stroke.”