Tardy OCG! - Oversight body knocked for failing to submit annual reports
The hard-hitting anti-corruption commission of Parliament with responsibility for the monitoring and investigation of the award of government contracts, licences and permits has been thrown into the spotlight for its tardiness in submitting at least two annual reports to Parliament.
Everald Warmington, acting leader of government business in the House of Representatives, who is a stickler for the rules of Parliament, says the delays by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) in submitting annual reports to Parliament are unacceptable.
"The situation has been brought to my attention, and I am compelled to write to the clerk to the Houses of Parliament for her to advise the OCG of this unacceptable situation," Warmington told The Gleaner yesterday.
Kingston Central Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites is of the view that given the responsibility of the contractor general, his office should have filed annual reports to Parliament promptly.
CUT OFF FUNDING
Thwaites says his previous suggestion to spur public bodies and other agencies of government to file annual reports on time had been ignored by respective administrations.
"If you are a custodian of public funds, and if your report is overdue for an extended period, then you should get no more funds until you are current," Thwaites reiterated.
He argued that his recommendation might not have been accepted because the relevant bodies are afraid of the discipline and the order that such a requirement would demand.
"In my view, it is the only way that can bring compliance," the opposition lawmaker said.
Leader of opposition business in the House, Phillip Paulwell, attributed the non-submission of the two reports to "a major oversight on the part of the OCG, which I am sure will be corrected as soon as it is brought to the attention of the office".
Responding to the concerns about outstanding annual reports, Contractor General Dirk Harrison said the 2014 and 2015 reports have been finalised.
"I readily admit they are outstanding and overdue; one report will be tabled in Parliament with the 2014 and 2015 findings. I expect, within another two to three weeks, it will be given to the press to be published. When I say press, I refer specifically to a publisher, to be bound and to be sent to Parliament for tabling," Harrison told The Gleaner.
The Contractor General Act, Section 28 (2) stipulates that a contractor general shall submit to Parliament an annual report relating generally to the execution of his functions.
The law mandates that reports of the contractor general "... shall be submitted to the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate who shall, as soon as possible, have them laid on the table of the appropriate House".