Akon Says His Bid To Restore Puerto Rico’s Power Was Rejected

"They don't care about the people," the rapper and co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa told TMZ.

About 13.4 percent of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority customers are still without electricity five months after Hurricane Maria ― a situation that Akon feels he could have helped prevent. 

During a TMZ interview posted Saturday, the rapper revealed that his philanthropic venture Akon Lighting Africa had proposed to restore power on the island but was turned down by the U.S. government. 

“We actually presented a program for Puerto Rico and we got rejected,” Akon told TMZ. “We have the solution for Puerto Rico, clearly. We would’ve had power up in less than 30 days and they rejected us.”

Hurricane Maria plunged Puerto Rico into near darkness in late September, when the deadly storm ravaged the island’s decades-old power grid. The job of restoring power initially went to Whitefish Energy, a small Montana-based firm. That $300 million contract was heavily criticized due to the company’s limited experience, its suspected connections to the Trump administration and a lack of transparency during the contract’s bidding process. The Puerto Rican government canceled the contract in late October. 

Akon’s organization says it has brought electricity to people in at least 14 African countries using multiple modes of solar energy ― including solar street lamps, micro-generators, charging stations and home kits.

When asked why his bid to help Puerto Rico was denied, Akon said it was a matter of “politics, special interest and propaganda.” 

“They don’t care about the people,” he added. “If that were the case, then they would have allowed us to go in and provide the solution.”