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OCG probes PNP - Contractor general orders party bigwigs to explain kickback allegations

Published:Tuesday | September 6, 2016 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Dr Omar Davies
Paul Burke

The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has stepped into the People's National Party (PNP) campaign-financing scandal, ordering the party's general secretary, Paul Burke, and former transport and works minister, Dr Omar Davies, to answer questions under oath.

Law-enforcement sources revealed last night that police personnel visited the PNP's Old Hope Road headquarters in St Andrew late yesterday to serve summonses on the two.

"Both men have been served by the contractor general to come in and explain the 1.5 per cent agent fee," a Gleaner source said in reference to allegations swirling around the party.

In a release last night, the PNP acknowledged that the OCG had commenced its investigation related to agent fees being paid by Chinese firms operating in Jamaica.

"Given the OCG's investigation, the Integrity Commission of the party will suspend its planned probe into matters referred to it by the party," the PNP said in its release.

"The party will also be making no further comment on this particular matter."

The OCG investigation comes less than a week after Davies revealed that Burke had made claims of the existence of a custom in which the party collected kickbacks from investors doing business with the country.

The allegations attributed Burke suggested that some of the funds collected failed to make their way to the party's coffers.

Davies, in seeking to defend himself from the allegations he claimed were being linked to him, challenged Burke to release all he knew on the matter.

The party that held state power in Jamaica for 23 of the last 30 years has been mired in a campaign donation scandal, triggered by allegations in a leaked report by treasurer Norman Horne, that senior party members collected money from donors for the February general election and failed to turn it over.