PHILIPSBURG:--- As the saga continues at the sole utility company NV GEBE, it appears that the company is buried in mountains of debts caused by the mismanagement and incompetence of the current temporary managers.
NV GEBE has had its fair share of trouble with the former Supervisory Board of Directors and their incompetence. The company also had rough patches with the former management team that is today campaigning and leaking information to various politicians and media personalities. While there are several questionable decisions made by the former members of the supervisory board and its management team, the company managed to survive since there were incoming revenues on a daily basis.
However, on March 16th, 2022, the IT infrastructure of NV GEBE was infiltrated by black byte ransomware. It has been revealed that Temporary Managers remained tight-lipped and lied to the employees that the IT department was experiencing technical difficulties with the system but assured it would be back online the following day. Both Temporary Managers even lied to the community of St. Maarten when they sent out a memo informing the general public that the hack had taken place on March 17th. SMN News was informed of the hack on March 16th while the Acting Minister of VROMI Ardwell Irion was informed on the afternoon of March 16th when he accompanied NV GEBE to parliament in the absence of the Minister of VROMI. On Wednesday, August 26th, 2022 the Prime Minister informed the Parliament of St. Maarten that NV GEBE was hacked on March 16th, 2022.
Just after the hack rumors began circulating within the community, sources say that due to this the Prosecutors Office on St. Maarten and the KPSM proactively acted and insisted that an investigation be conducted in order to determine the magnitude of the threat, but the law enforcement agencies were restricted from entering the company’s compound by the temporary managers.
On June 26, 2022, KPSM and the Prosecutors, Office in a press release said that the “Freya” investigation was inconclusive “due to NV GEBE’s non-cooperative attitude”. This was also mentioned in the report sent to the Council of Ministers.
According to well-placed sources within the Government-owned company since the date of the hack and the reopening of the company on June 6th, 2022 the Temporary Managers withheld detailed information from the Executive Management Team (EMT) and chose to handle all matters privately on their own.
According to several inside sources, the only reason the company was able to retrieve its client’s information was due to a backup that was in the possession of former Chief Financial Officer Ms. Iris Arrindell and not the IT department.
The sources said both temporary managers withheld this information from the Council of Minters, employees, and the general public to conceal the fact that the former manager of the IT department Merrill Temmer failed to safeguard the company’s infrastructure
During several radio interviews, Daniel publicly thank Arrindell and referred to her as her due to her hard work and dedication but failed to mention the real reason and took credit for steering the company to its recovery in less than a three-months time span.
Reliable sources also revealed that Arrindell and the Finance manager Mr. Andrew Zagers both advised Daniel to reopen the company’s doors after the third week and begin collecting revenues. They also claimed that the two senior employees advised Daniel to implement a temporary standalone billing system to avoid depleting the cash reserves based on their experience. They alleged that Daniel rejected the proposal and reprimanded both managers to never overstep their authority and to only accept the proposal two months later.
Allegations of mismanagement.
The sources also confirmed that Merrill Temmer the Acting Temporary Manager Daniel has been using the company’s funds as their personal piggy bank and has neglected the core maintenance projects such as the water tanks, streetlights, smart meters, and outdated intelligence network.
They alleged that exorbitant payments are being made to her personal lawyer, the rental company of a close friend, and Temporary Agencies. Based on confirmed information, Daniel is presently renting a 2022 Hyundai Tucson since November 2021 for $1,500 per month (accumulated amount of $13,500) while the two Ford Edges that were used by the former CEO and CFO have been parked for two years.
Huge sums of payments were also made to the cyber security firm Aurora Info Tech which did not manage to recover any of the company’s data. This question was also posed by MP Christopher Emanuel on the floor of parliament during Wednesday, August 24, 2022, urgent meeting.
NV GEBE has also not been able to meet its financial commitments towards Sol Antilles NV and the water production company Seven Seas over months due to the decision made by both Temporary Managers since the ransomware attack.
However, despite the financial situation, the present Acting Temporary Manager is adamant about hosting an all-out bash for the company’s anniversary while owing millions of dollars to several local and international vendors. In addition, Daniel failed to outsource the audit for the IT department and convinced the former Supervisory Board of Directors to reject the upgrade of the system to S4 Hanna presented by the former management team back in 2019.
The sources further said that the malicious intent over the past decade has crippled the utility company. Daniel has had several clashes with all managers and even threaten to fire them during an Executive Management meeting held on July 4, 2022.
The sources also claimed that due to excessive stress and pressure the now statutory director no longer wants to serve as the company’s COO. Besides the statutory director, the employees of the company expressed their frustration due to the constant threats and incompetence of the current temporary manager.
A group of employees has begun seeking legal advice while others are considering the intervention from their Union representatives the SMCU.