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'Phantom company' claims involvement in wind project
Giant Mine wind project participants deny knowledge of company accused of fraud in billion-dollar Iraqi government deal

Thandie Vela
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A company that lists the possible Yellowknife windmill farm among its current projects on its website is being accused of being a fake and using fraud to land a $1.2 billion contract in Iraq.

NNSL photo/graphic

Partners of the Yellowknife wind farm feasibility study tour the proposed site on Friday, June 24, 2011. From left: Ndilo Chief Ted Tsetta, Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. vice president of strategic development Alasdair Martin, Det'on Cho president and CEO Roy Erasmus Jr., Dettah Chief Ed Sangris, minister responsible for the Public Utilities Board Bob McLeod and Ric Bolivar, director of Ryfan Wind Inc. - Kevin Allerston/NNSL photo

Despite stating on its website that the company – Canadian Alliance for Power Generation Equipment Inc.(CAPGENT) – is currently conducting the feasibility assessment of the Yellowknife wind farm, all official participants of the Giant Mine-area wind energy project say they have never heard of the Vancouver-based company.

"I have no idea who or what CAPGEN(sic) is," Ryfan Wind Inc. director Ric Bolivar told Yellowknifer by email. "They are not involved with us. I am on vacation, this email will suffice as our statement about them."

Det'on Cho Earth Energy manager Rick Miller, whose arm of the Det’on Cho Corporation is working with Ryfan Wind on the weather monitoring tower at Giant Mine, which will determine the feasibility of the wind project, said by phone from southern Ontario that he also does not know of the company.

"I have never heard of CAPGENT," Miller said.

Yellowknifer was not able to reach Det’on Cho Corporation president and CEO Roy Erasmus Jr., who is also on vacation. 

Reached by phone in downtown Vancouver, CAPGENT’s lawyer Harvey Meller said the company has a "big group" of principals and any one of them could have involvement with the possible Yellowknife wind farm project.

Meller also said the company has not officially been pulled from a $1.2-billion power generation deal CAPGENT signed in July with the Iraq Ministry of Electricity to build 10 power stations with up to 1,000 megawatts capacity each, over the next 12 months. 

"We are proceeding with the contract," Meller said. "(CAPGENT) is all pedal to the metal trying to complete the (Iraq energy) project. It's a very important project for the people of Iraq and they are proceeding."

In a letter to the Prime Minister of Iraq petitioning the government to declare CAPGENT's energy contract null and void, Vancouver-based whistleblower Jawad M. Hashim highlighted that CAPGENT was registered with the name by British Columbia Registry Services in May, just two months before the billion-dollar energy contract was signed with Iraq. Hashim contends in his letter that CAPGENT is a "phantom company, and it exists only on paper.

"For a ministry, like the Ministry of Electricity (in the presence of the Minister and a senior deputy Minister), to sign a contract for US$1.2 billion with phantom company is very suspicious!(sic)," Hashim wrote in the Aug. 2 letter.

Meller said the company has three offices, including one in Vancouver’s Canada Place, a shared communications office at the lawyer’s Vancouver practice location, and a third office overseas in the Middle East.

A request submitted to the CAPGENT online contact system to speak with the company’s director Muhannad Samara, was not immediately responded to.

On its website, the company says CAPGENT is a leader in thermal and diesel power plant construction management, with more than 5,000 megawatts successfully constructed in various jurisdictions around the globe. A diesel engine project in Hanoi, Vietnam is listed among CAPGENT's current projects, along with the Northwest Territories wind farm project – assessing the feasibility of contracting a 300-megawatt capacity windmill farm in Yellowknife, the company said.

Judy McLinton, spokesman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said there is only one wind energy project currently being assessed in Yellowknife.

Feasibility of the Yellowknife windmill project is being overseen by the Det’on Cho Corporation, while the territorial government and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) are playing a largely funding-based role in the project.

Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. donated the weather tower currently collecting wind and atmospheric data to determine the feasibility of powering the Giant Mine remediation project, and possibly some of Yellowknife, with wind energy.

The site for the possible wind farm is at Giant Mine, 80 km northeast of Yellowknife.

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