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Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Premier and NR Minister Refuse to Provide Details on Nalcor CEO Conflict of Interest Review

 

 

 

Keith Hutchings, ‎Natural Resources Critic for the Official Opposition, said a requested review of the CEO of Nalcor's employment contract remains unanswered months after requested.

 

"The Liberal government refuses to provide clarity to simple questions with respect to conflict of interest rules and conflict of interest legislation," said Hutchings.

 

Hutchings raised the matter during Question Period on Wednesday in the House of Assembly.

 

“On August 22, 2016, I wrote the Auditor General and requested a review of Mr. Marshall's contract with respect to the Conflict of Interest Act, 1995 and specifically the dramatic change in the conflict of interest provision from the contract of the former CEO, with respect to holding shares in Fortis,” said Hutchings.

 

"A response from the Auditor General on August 31 recommended to seek a provision by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council to appoint a conflict of interest advisory committee and make a determination on any conflict. On September 20, Mr. Hutchings wrote to the Premier and requested the appointment of a conflict of interest advisory committee to review the new CEO's contract. The Premier has still not responded, and in Question Period Wednesday the Minister of Natural Resources could not provide clarity if any provisions of the contract could be viewed as a perceived, actual, or no conflict in relation to the Act.

 

“The contract for the new CEO of Nalcor originally mirrored the former CEO's contract, except in one respect. There were significant changes in Mr. Marshall’s contract regarding conflict of interest,” said Hutchings. “The June 10th contract draft sent to the current CEO of Nalcor says he is not to have any interest in an entity which may compete, directly or indirectly, with Nalcor. However, the updated signed version allows for ownership of 5 per cent in a publicly traded company such as Fortis.‎ The Minister of Natural Resources was unwilling to indicate who authorized the change and what protocols exist to ensure public interests are protected,”‎ said Hutchings.

 

‎"People need to know what this means. For example, what would happen if Fortis wanted to purchase transmission lines from Nalcor? Would the CEO be in conflict?" added Hutchings.

 

In Question Period Wednesday, the Minister of Natural Resources stated that “the committee has reviewed Mr. Marshall's conflicts.‎ They have done a thorough analysis, and I went a little bit farther and asked Mr. Marshall to remove himself from anything else with regards to Fortis, for example, any discussion around that, even though he is not in conflict. He does not breach any of the conflict of interest rules."

 

When the Minister was asked to release the review, she replied, “A copy of that Act is available to all Members at all times...."

 

“Was the report and review done or not? And if so, release it,” said Hutchings.

 

"Minister Coady and Premier Ball are not providing information that people deserve to know. If appropriate due diligence was done, demonstrate it and release any concerns related to even a perceived conflict‎ in ensuring public interests are protected. That is the purpose of the Conflict of Interest Act. I will again write the Auditor General and ask if he can now complete the review that the Premier seems unwilling to do,” added Hutchings.

 

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Media Contact:

 

Heather MacLean

 

Director of Operations and Communications

 

Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105

 

heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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