The ongoing investigation, led by various authorities, into the relationships between the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mauritius Telecom (MT) and various companies having obtained contracts worth several million rupees between 2015 and 2022, highlights the close ties between the former boss of the national telecommunications company and Vidarmen Payen, the director of Ergomax. According to various elements of information from certain senior executives at MT, investigators from the Central Barracks, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and the anti-corruption commission (Icac), there was an entire ecosystem allowing Vidarmen Payen to have free access within the MT structure itself.

It appears that Vidarmen Payen's connections within MT were not just limited to Sherry Singh, but also encompassed other employees of the national telecommunications company. According to our sources from the Telecom Tower, Vidarmen Payen had already established contacts within the company. In most cases these were staff members occupying relatively low positions in the hierarchy.

“However, thanks to his special links with the management installed between 2015 and 2022, Vidarmen Payen was able to use his influence with them to allow several of his friends to climb the ladder of the hierarchy,” it is said. Very quickly, several close to Vidarmen Payen were promoted in key departments of MT, notably the Property Management department which approves MT's construction projects. Another close friend of Payen was promoted to site supervisor, while other friends were quickly given responsibilities in the Procurement department. This information, which was also reported to the police, is currently under investigation, leading to questioning of various Procurement department staff by the Police Head Quarters Special Striking Team (PHQ SST), even leading to arrests in certain cases.

With his employees strategically positioned within MT, Vidarmen Payen, as director of Ergomax, thus had free rein to execute contracts worth several hundred million rupees obtained from the national telecommunications company.

According to several MT employees, it was with the contracts awarded to Ergomax for the construction of the 'Open Gyms', better known as MUGA, that Vidarmen Payen achieved its first major coup. It is reported that the contracts for the MUGA project were initially intended for a well-known designer, but, overnight, Vidarmen Payen managed to land these various contracts.

The findings concerning the various MUGA constructions turned out to be a total failure

According to sources familiar with the matter, MUGA facilities have experienced significant budgetary variations over the years. “The initial budget allocated to these projects was Rs 8 million for each installation, but in the end, Mauritius Telecom found itself paying the sum of Rs 30 million,” we are told. Years later, the findings regarding the various MUGA constructions turned out to be total failures. Also, in many cases, the equipment installed under this program is already defective. Some projects were even simply abandoned, leaving MT with several unfinished MUGA projects. “Since it was those close to Vidarmen Payen who were appointed responsible for supervising the sites, they thus turned a blind eye to the construction defects,” we continue. In 2023, with the arrival of new management, the decision was made to stop the MUGA program.

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