Feb 012002

WASHINGTON—Enron Corp. executive Sherron Watkins accused two top company officials Thursday of duping then-Chairman Kenneth Lay and the board of directors about improper — and possibly illegal — partnerships that concealed over $1 billion in debt.

Watkins said that when she told Lay of her concerns, the chief financial officer, Andrew Fastow, tried to have her dismissed.

“He wanted to have me fired. He wanted to seize my computer,” she testified at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce investigative subcommittee.

Watkins’ concerns grew when she noticed that money earmarked for employee health benefits was being channeled elsewhere. Senior executives refused to tell her where the money was going saying it was none of her concern. Tens of thousands of dollars of the missing funds are reported to have been used to purchase hundreds of paper shredders.

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