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OCG completes special investigations

Thursday, January 10, 2013    

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THE Office of the Contractor General (OCG) said Tuesday that it has completed reports on two major investigations, dating as far back as 2008, but is unable to release the details pending their tabling in Parliament next week.

The reports cover the National Housing Trust (NHT) Special Investigation, which looked at the award of contracts to suspected "sham contractors" detected in an OCG commissioned audit in 2009; and a review of the decision of the Ministry of Energy and Mining not to put the proposed divestment of the Government's 45 per cent share in Jamalco through an OCG-monitored process.

The OCG, in 2008, launched internal investigations into allegations that a member of its own staff was involved in undermining the National Contracts Commission's registration process.

Subsequent to the conclusion of the investigations, the employment contract of the OCG officer was terminated and particulars relating to the case submitted to the Fraud Squad. The former OCG employee is currently before the courts on multiple charges.

The investigations also led to information on at least five "false" contractors who were receiving millions of dollars in NHT contracts, by targeting the Trust's Small Contractors Programme, a long-standing initiative aimed at providing jobs at the community level.

The Government has been unable to unload its 45 per cent share in Jamalco, which it owns through Clarendon Alumina Production (CAP), since the OCG intervened into the divestment process in 2010.

Then Minister of Energy and Mining, James Robertson, explained that the decision to unload the shares was triggered by the need to discontinue publicly funding CAP, in order to comply with the new Standby Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The reports should be tabled in the House of Representatives when it resumes next Tuesday.

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