THE Office of the Contractor General (OCG) says that a special audit into the Quarterly Contract Award (QCA) reports from the Rural Electrification Programme (REP) has uncovered $35 million in contracts issued to two companies not registered with the National Contracts Commission (NCC).
In a release, yesterday, the OCG said that despite the fact that the companies were never registered with the NCC, fictitious NCC contractor registration numbers were entered in the QCA reports for several quarters between 2009 and 2011, representing to the OCG that the companies were duly registered.
The OCG noted that it is a criminal offence, under Section 29 of the Contractor General Act, to make a false statement to mislead a Contractor General, and it is also a criminal offence, under Section 40 of the Public Sector Procurement Regulations, to award a Government contract in contravention of the regulations.
Seventeen contracts, the OCG said, were reportedly awarded to the two companies, the highest valued at $4.9 million, and the lowest at $453,900. At the time, public bodies were barred from awarding contracts in excess of $275,000 in value to a contractor not duly registered with the NCC.
In keeping with the requirements of the Contractor General Act, copies of the OCG's Report of Investigation into the matter have been sent to eight State authorities. Copies were sent to the minister of science, technology, energy and mining, Phillip Paulwell; General Manager REP Garfield Daley; and the permanent secretary in the ministry, Hillary Alexander. Copies were also sent to Parliament, the commissioner of police and the director of public prosecutions.