Sat | Feb 17, 2018

OCG to deliver report on vehicle contract for police force early next year

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell

The country should know early next year the results of a probe by Contractor General Dirk Harrison into the contentious contractual arrangement between the Ministry of National Security and O'Brien's International Car Sales and Rentals Limited to deliver 200 vehicles to the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Harrison told The Gleaner yesterday that the investigation is expected to be completed early 2018 and a report submitted to Parliament for tabling.

The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) intensified its probe earlier this month after news surfaced during a meeting of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) that O'Brien's had failed to deliver the pre-owned vehicles to the police force despite receiving extensions to make good on its promise.

To date, Harrison has conducted interviews with a number of players involved in the contract.

DISPUTE OVER TAX PAYMENT

It is not clear at this time the current status of the contractual arrangement between O'Brien's and the Ministry of National Security. The 66 vehicles on the wharves, purportedly imported by O'Brien's for the police force, apparently remain in limbo following a dispute over who should pay the general consumption tax and the special consumption tax on the vehicles.

The ministry had signalled that it would redeem a $42-million performance security bond to recover any financial losses should the company fail to deliver the vehicles according to the contract. It also had an advanced payment security in the sum of $213.5 million. O'Brien's had received a 50 per cent deposit on the contract, which converts to $213.5 million.

Questions sent to the ministry yesterday afternoon regarding the status of the contract were unanswered up to news time.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com