Sunday, November 17

Report: Jepak Holdings sues Education Ministry over attempt to terminate solar hybrid project for schools contract

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KUCHING: Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd has filed a RM7.83 billion suit against the Education Ministry for its wrongful termination attempt on its solar diesel hybrid project for schools in Sarawak, a news report said.

Citing QEOS Group and Jepak Holdings Chief Executive Officer Dr Gabriel Walter, Digital News Asia (DNA) reported today that the company had filed the writ of summons on November 1 in the Sarawak High Court.

The technology news website added that the court had on November 6 delivered an interim ex-parte injunction to prevent the ministry from using any of the project’s data or design improvements without permission and had set the inter partes hearing on November 20.

“They think I am some rural kid without the ability to fight back,” Gabriel, a Kelabit, said in the report.

Jepak Holdings was awarded a three-year contract to supply power to 369 rural schools in Sarawak worth RM1.2 billion but the Pakatan Harapan government has attempted to terminate the project. The project commenced in January 2017.

The company is linked to a corruption case involving Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The trial is ongoing.

The DNA report said Gabriel had taken over from the previous shareholders of Jepak this past May in the hopes that having a new shareholder company, with over 50 patents in its portfolio, would help him overcome the allegations surrounding the direct negotiated contract in late 2016.

The situation, however, came to a head with the appointment of the ministry’s new secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Ghazali Abas in June 2018.

“All official phone conversations and face to face meetings just stopped cold while emails were only selectively replied to and messaging became very sporadic,” Gabriel said.

This was in spite of Jepak Holdings still being contractually bound to deliver diesel and maintain the diesel gen sets in schools or risk facing a RM1.4 million penalty a day.

The report said Jepak Holdings has just fulfilled its diesel supply obligation of the contract but has not been paid by the ministry for 21 months, with the government now owing Jepak RM340 million for the diesel work done.

Gabriel said his hope was not that he wins the suit and gets compensation but that the ministry would allow Jepak Holdings to move forward and deliver its responsibility.