Mr. Ebanks has alleged that his suspension from his job was related to anomalies in the 36 megawatt bid process.
In a statement released Friday, the board of Electricity Regulatory Authority said that contrary to Mr. Ebanks’ allegations, his suspension was related solely to serious financial irregularities uncovered by the auditor general and now under investigation by the police.
The 36MW bid was awarded by the ERA board to the Dart company, known as DECCO, on 9 February “on the recommendation and with the full support of the former managing director as well as the entire ERA team”, the ERA statement read.
“Up to the date of the notification of his suspension to him on 2 March 2013, the former managing director had not notified the chairman or the board that he was concerned that the bid process was flawed or that there had been any irregularities either before or following the award of the bid.
“The former managing director, as stated in our previous press release, was suspended on full pay on the advice of the board because it had been reported to the board by the auditor general that his audit of the ERA uncovered serious financial irregularities involving the former managing director that continue to be the subject of a police investigation that the board cannot comment on,” the statement continued.
Mr. Ebanks has published postings on his Facebook page and sent allegations regarding the bidding process of the 36MW power generation to the media, saying that he was suspended shortly he refused to overlook the alleged bid anomalies.
He was suspended by Governor Duncan Taylor from his job on 2 March and was subsequently arrested by police on 6 March on suspicion of abuse of office, theft and possession of a drug utensil. He has not been charged.
He has since resigned from the managing director position and is running as an electoral candidate in North Side against incumbent Ezzard Miller.
The ERA board, in its release, said that due to the allegations disseminated by Mr. Ebanks to the press and to at least two of three bidders involved in the process, the board had “determined that it has a duty to the bidders and the general public to cause an investigation to be undertaken on the 36MW bid process by an unrelated qualified party that is presently being identified”.
“The former managing director has been notified of this decision and asked to cooperate fully with the investigation and the board sincerely hopes that he will take this opportunity to fully disclose any concerns he has with the process. In the event that it is confirmed to the board that the bid process was open and transparent and there were no irregularities, the board will take whatever actions necessary to recover the costs and expenditure of public funds on this investigation.
“In the event that irregularities are found, they will be reported to the appropriate authorities,” the ERA statement read.
Mr. Ebanks, in an email sent to the chair of the ERA Sherri Bodden Thursday and copied to members of the media, said he would only cooperate with the investigation if a number of conditions were met, including the suspension from Cabinet of government ministers Mark Scotland and Cline Glidden.
“Having been suspended, arrested and then asked to assist with the Board Agenda was one thing, further cooperation without it being reciprocated is scary,” Mr. Ebanks wrote to Ms Bodden.
In his email, Mr. Ebanks said he would only be willing to cooperate if an external investigating team of three people is contracted and paid for by Governor Taylor, with the governor selecting one member, the ERA board selecting the second and Mr. Ebanks selecting the third.
Other conditions for his cooperation included: all charges against him being dropped immediately; a public apology issued by Governor Taylor, who has threatened him with legal action; and the three-person external team carrying out investigations into allegations Mr. Ebanks has made against the Auditor General, acting managing director of the ERA Louis Boucher and Ezzard Miller.
Mr. Ebanks requested that all his conditions be met by 5pm, Monday, 8 April.
For more on this story, read Monday’s Caymanian Compass