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JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri Senate committee questioned the Department of Economic Development's involvement with the failed sugar substitute company, Mamtek.

The Governmental Accountability Committee started its investigation in early October.  The committee sunshine requested all emails pertaining to the Chinese company. 

Sen. Jim Lembke, R- St. Louis County, showed particular concern on how the Economic Development Department will ensure that only viable companies will be invested in.

"I'm not satisfied that the D.E.D has enough protection for citizens, and there seems to be a lot of circular arguments and pointing of fingers," said Lembke.

Director of the Division of Business and Community Services, Sallie Hemenway, spoke on behalf of the department, "We are working to determine what we could do differently at every single step."

Hemenway said the Department deals with projects on a case by case manner and to set one mechanism for giving a standard for prospective projects is difficult. The Department deals with projects by checking into their history. However, Mamtek had no history because it was a startup company.

"In situations with startup companies we can look into the owners, investors and other components of the plan to see if it's a legitimate deal," said Hemenway.

Hemenway said it was not the Department's decision solely to go ahead with the project.

The hearing lasted more than two and a half hours.  Sen. Lembke said the Governmental Accountability Committee will continue its conversation with the Department and keep moving on its investigation.