The chief executive of council-owned Victory Energy Supply Limited has been paid £270,000 despite the company being shelved before selling a single kilowatt of electricity.
Victory Energy was worked up in a joint venture with Portsmouth City Council, and former SSE senior executive Daniel O’Hara led the way on trying to establish the company as a major player in the industry.
Despite councillors voting to axe the firm with £1.5m invested by August this year, it remains running with contractors and employees still being paid.
Here we have a look at how the idea for Victory Energy was created, and what happened next.
2017 Daniel O’Hara approaches former council leader Donna Jones, later pitching a joint venture to the cabinet and senior council leaders
May 2017: Mr O’Hara becomes Victory Energy chief executive as a £500-a-day contractor as council invites him to develop a business case together with council officers.
July 27, 2017: Outline business case approved at a special meeting of then-leader Conservative Donna Jones’ cabinet.
August 2017: Mr O’Hara’s day rate increases to £750
September 12, 2017: Cllr Jones, council solicitor Michael Lawther and treasurer Chris Ward become directors of Victory Energy Supply Limited.
December 6, 2017: Mr O’Hara becomes company directory of VESL.
May 15, 2018: Former council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson takes control of council with minority administration.
July 6, 2018: The News reveals Cllr Vernon-Jackson is set to axe the firm.
August 10, 2018: The Lib Dem cabinet decides to stop the company.
August 28, 2018: The News reveals Labour and Conservatives councillors call in the decision.
September 22, 2018: The full council agrees to take the decision back to cabinet.