Lewis calls for reporting on E-book payments and asks why BoE continues to pay Fortuna Pix when contract should have ended

Senator Richard Lewis is again asking questions about the E-book programme – including whether a new contract has been signed, since the Board of Education (BoE) continues to pay Fortuna Pix for the non-functioning electronic devices.

Speaking in the Upper House during the debate on the 2022 Budget, Lewis says he saw no reference to the E-books project when perusing the Budget Statement.

He notes that it has been more than six years since the debacle – which is how he describes the E-books – and the Administration is still not able to report on how $70 million was spent.

And yet, Senator Lewis says, the Budget Business Plan for the BoE lists the improvement of the E-book programme as one of its priorities.

He says the plan speaks to the distribution of new laptops and of the old E-book devices.  Accordingly, Lewis wants to know what has become of the initiative to move to E-text books.

The Senator says the BoE continues to make scheduled monthly payments against the amount owed to the Indian-based company and related to the 2019/2020 academic year.

He says the contract should have ended already and he is, therefore, at a loss as to why the BoE is still engaging Fortuna Pix.

Lewis also notes that the Ministry of Education’s business plan regarding the E-book project carries the exact statement from the 2021 document.

The Senator says the time has come to bring this saga to a close and let the chips fall where they may.

A fraction of the monies used on the E-books could have been used to build a school, Lewis states.  He adds that the BoE is still spending money on physical textbooks, even as it is paying for the E-books that are devoid of content.