Columbia Basin Trust Energy Inc. - part of the locally-controlled Columbia Basin Trust - is looking into purchasing the Columbia Power Corporation, Public Eye has learned. The trust, responsible for the distribution of profits from Columbia Basin power projects to nearby communities, notified government of its intent on June 20. That purchase, subject to public consultation, would put the trust in complete control of those projects - some of which are co-owned by the corporation. The possibility of a sale has raised some eyebrows due to recent allegations of mismanagement at the trust, which is holding its annual general meeting next month.
According to an internal government audit, completed in April, Columbia Basin Trust Energy awarded $2 million in consulting contracts to a company its chief executive officer was working for. The chief executive Ken Epp - who was found to be in an apparent or perceived rather than an actual conflict of interest - resigned earlier this month. The option to purchase the corporation expires at the end of June. A version of this article was originally published in today's edition of 24 hours.