Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Questions Management of IT Contracts by Research Centres

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Questions Management of IT Contracts by Research Centres

Article excerpt

Saskatchewan questions research IT contracts


REGINA - Concerns are being raised about management of IT contracts at a second research centre connected to the University of Regina.

The Saskatchewan government said Tuesday that the Petroleum Technology Research Centre may have entered into an untendered contract with a company called ClimbIT.

"It's a concern considering that that is not the process of the university, so again there's been choices made by individuals not to follow the processes within the U of R," said Donna Harpauer, minister responsible for Crown Investments Corp.

Harpauer has sent a letter to university president Vianne Timmons which says ClimbIT may have "some affiliation" with a man named Henry Jaffe.

The letter points out that Jaffe is also connected to a company called Climate Ventures Inc. _ which got into a sole-sourced IT deal with the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of CO2, better known as IPAC-CO2.

IPAC-CO2 is now an independent organization, but when it started in 2008, it was run by the University of Regina.

But there's also another connection.

The Petroleum Technology Research Centre is under the direction of prominent scientist Malcolm Wilson _ who was also at the helm of IPAC when it started.

According to an IT services review _ ordered by IPAC's new CEO in 2010 _ Climate Ventures subcontracted to ClimbIT.

The previously confidential review, published Monday on IPAC's website, said the enforceable contractual relationship was "unclear" and the agreement was never signed. It went on to say that value has been exchanged for services, "albeit in some cases, at an apparent premium."

A forensic investigation by Myers Norris Penny found there was a conflict of interest because two people, including Wilson, held seats on both the IPAC and Climate Ventures Inc. boards.

Harpauer noted that none of the money was missing at IPAC, but that a premium was paid for IT services.

The province wants more information from the university.

In the letter to Timmons, Harpauer requested the university provide "information regarding any contracts, agreements, or arrangements" between the university, Jaffe or his corporate entities and "any relationship" with Wilson. …

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