Tue | Aug 21, 2018

Finance Ministry withdraws moratorium offer in controversial car deal

Published:Friday | December 8, 2017 | 7:20 PM

The Finance Ministry has withdrawn the offer to grant the National Security Ministry a moratorium on the taxes to clear from the wharf 66 used vehicles imported by a contractor.

According to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), it is the responsibility of the contractor — O’Brien’s International Car Sales and Rentals Limited — to pay the General Consumption Tax and Special Consumption Tax on the vehicles.

The vehicles have been sitting on the wharf because the importer could not find the money to clear the tax obligations.

The taxes were also left out of the bid for the contract to provide 200 used vehicles for the  Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The National Security Ministry had reportedly denied the request of the car dealer to undertake the cost to clear the vehicles.

However, the Finance Ministry later granted a delay in the payment of the taxes until May next year.

Meanwhile, the OPM said the National Security Ministry is to write to General Accident Insurance Company to request the payment of the $40 million performance bond that was paid by the car dealer.

"Cabinet expects that payment of the bond will be expedited to enable the Ministry of National Security to use the bonds proceeds to pay all necessary taxes and duties, to clear the vehicles and get them to the JCF without further undue delay," said an OPM spokesperson.

The spokesperson also noted that the Cabinet has granted the request of the Contractor General to investigate the procurement of the pre-owned vehicles for the JCF.

The OPM said too that at the request of the National Security Ministry, the Cabinet has made the decision to revise the procurement guidelines to provide for fit and proper criteria for national security-related and other sensitive contracts, so that they can be performed in a timely manner.

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