Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Christie serves notice - Integrity Commission CEO says oversight body will monitor COVID spending

Published:Friday | June 5, 2020 | 12:27 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer -

The Greg Christie-led Integrity Commission has served notice of its intention to monitor the Government’s COVID-19-related expenses and contract awards.

This comes a day after the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) called on the commission or an appropriate state body to investigate a multimillion-dollar contract.

Rahim Cleaning and Trucking Limited was awarded a $46 million contract to carry out cleaning and sanitising works at eight locations in Ocho Rios, St Ann.

It was revealed during the committee meeting that more than $9 million was spent to sanitise and clean handrails, gates, doors, gate handles, and door handles at the Ocho Rios Pier.

In a media release yesterday, the commission said it intends to conduct investigations “forthrightly and dispassionately”.

Given the “unprecedented levels of expenditures” that the Government has committed to spending in the COVID fight and what it intends to spend, the commission is obliged to fulfil its statutory obligations by responding in an “appropriate and likewise heightened manner".

In addition, donations totalling several millions have reportedly been received by the Government from private-sector entities and non-governmental organisations.

Formal written notice has been directed to permanent secretaries, principals, and accounting officers in Government and copied to the prime minister and ministers of health and finance.

“The commission’s director of investigations will, in due course, by way of separate written correspondence, request specific information from all pertinent GOJ ministries and agencies to facilitate the commission’s stated objectives,” read a section of the media release.

In keeping with its statutory mandate, alongside international best practices, the commission’s monitoring programme will seek to ensure that there is “integrity, probity, accountability, and independent oversight” of the Government’s expenditure.