Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Contractor General fails to overturn Supreme Court ruling in Cenitech matter

Published:Saturday | December 19, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarbara Gayle
Contractor General Dirk Harrison

THE CONTRACTOR general of Jamaica has lost his bid in the Court of Appeal to overturn a Supreme Court ruling blocking it from investigating Cenitech Engineering Solutions Limited.

An investigation was launched by the contractor general into the registration of companies with the National Contracts Commission and the award of contracts to the companies under the Barracks Relocation Project and the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme. Cenitech was one of the companies being investigated.

Cenitech filed an application for leave to apply for judicial review to challenge the contractor general's decision, and Justice Paulette Williams granted the application. Cenitech also applied for a stay of the investigations and, in March last year, Justice Marva McDonald Bishop granted the stay pending the determination of the judicial review.

The court, in dismissing the application for permission to appeal, held that it found no basis upon which the powers of the Supreme Court could be restricted so that a judge was unable to grant a remedy where it deems it just and fit. "The fact that investigations and hearings persisted even after the revocation of Cenitech's registration necessitated the grant of the stay," the court said yesterday.

The court found that the injunction was properly granted.

Attorneys-at-law Abe Dabdoub and Karen Dabdoub, who represented Cenitech, have opposed the application for permission to appeal.

Meanwhile, the substantive case between the contractor general and Cenitech in the Supreme Court was halted because of the matter before the Court of Appeal. Cenitech took the Government to court in May last year, seeking to recover damages of approximately $350 million.

Cenitech claimed it lost contracts with the Government because of claims from the contractor general that the company made misrepresentations on its application for registration. Cenitech is disputing that claim.