Lee says he never used govt. fuel bonds for business, home

Lee’s damaged government vehicle.

PHILIPSBURG–Health and Social Affairs Minister Emil Lee said on Sunday he never misused his government-issued fuel bonds for any business or his home following Hurricane Irma as was alleged on a blog site.

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Lee also dismissed allegations that he had been misusing his government number plate MR4 when he placed it on his personal vehicle following the hurricane.

Lee said despite attempts to safeguard his government vehicle during Irma, the front windshield was “badly damaged”. This made driving the vehicle unsafe and use would have subjected the vehicle to additional water damage. Since Irma, the vehicle has been covered and unused.” Lee said instead of requesting government to rent a vehicle, it was decided to use a personal vehicle, a pick-up truck, as a temporary replacement vehicle. “The vehicle was purchased shortly before Irma, and while properly registered and insured, no license plates were available since government had run out of license plates. Since only authorised emergency vehicles were allowed on the road and since only authorised emergency vehicles were allowed to access certain gas stations, it was decided to temporarily place the MR4 license plate on the truck,” the Minister said.

“When recently queried, why not put a “W” on the car and put the MR4 plate inside the truck, it was explained that the back window of the truck was also broken and covered with plastic and concerns were that anything loose inside the vehicle might be stolen. This issue was discussed with the Prime Minister and it was agreed that these were unusual times and for the moment many atypical things were taking place. It was agreed that efforts were better invested in other things and to continue as is until a more permanent solution could be found.”

As it relates to the fuel bonds, Lee said no fuel was purchased on government account and used for any business or his home.

Lee said his fuel bond book shows that fuel was purchased on August 31, September 15, October 5 and November 17, and claims that all bonds are in sequence and accounted for. “On September 15, the purchase included one drum of fuel that was purchased to supply volunteers that were assisting with delivery of relief goods. These volunteers were using their personal vehicles and didn’t have a government bond book to buy fuel for their vehicles. A half drum of diesel was also purchased for the same purpose. This was not on Minister Lee’s gas bond book, which is the same book that was issued to him in November 2015 and still not finished,” the release said.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71295-lee-says-he-never-used-govt-fuel-bonds-for-business-home