JUTC probe - Contractor General investigating allegations of procurement breach
For the last four months, the Office of the Contractor General has been conducting a probe into the Jamaica Urban Transit Company Limited's (JUTC) engagement of Millennium Security Limited (MSL) to provide services to the state-owned bus company, Dirk Harrison revealed yesterday.
Managing director of the JUTC, Paul Abrahams, told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre yesterday that the company paid some $12 million to MSL for providing security at its facilities, which store spare parts and lubricants, in an effort to control theft. He said this interim arrangement was in place for eight months.
However, the contractor general told The Gleaner that he received a complaint from a citizen who raised concerns about the manner in which MSL was selected to provide services to the JUTC.
Harrison said he requested documentation from Abrahams, who has supplied some information. He is currently awaiting further material from the company.
"The JUTC had been formally advised, requisitions were sent to them, and answers have been provided, and the answers require further questions to be asked, and those are being asked of the entity," Harrison said.
Opposition spokesman on transport, Mikael Phillips, on Wednesday charged that the JUTC had breached procurement guidelines in the awarding of a contract valued in excess of $50 million in which the brother of a member of the board has an interest.
However, Abrahams said the JUTC did not enter into a contract with MSL.
SIX-MONTH PILOT PROJECT
He said the board of the JUTC had approved a six-month pilot exercise, noting that "when we realise that the parameters would require competitive tender, that is when we rescinded the agreement and went to tender".
In a statement on Wednesday, Abrahams said: "The management and board of the JUTC, having recognised the problem of widespread theft of spare parts, lubricants and oil, and having realised there was a serious backlog of accident investigations and disciplinary cases and staff being reinstated, decided in the interest of probity and efficiency to seek to engage independent outside contractors for accident investigation and disciplinary hearings."
He said the JUTC entered into discussions with MSL after it submitted a proposal, which was presented to the board for review.
"We wish to make it clear that when the matter was being discussed, director Clement Ellington recused himself from these discussions. The board subsequently gave management approval to engage Millennium under a six-month pilot project," the statement said.
A notice was put up at the JUTC's Lyndhurst Road, St Andrew, depot, which read: "This is to advise that effective Monday, September 18, 2017, Millennium Security Services will operate from the JUTC Lyndhurst Road facility under a three-month pilot programme, whereby they will be tasked with investigating all accidents/incidents and breaches of procedure as may be directed by the company."