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UDC improperly awards $multimillion contract to Easton Douglas' firm - OCG

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2015 | 6:06 AM
The UDC had reported that the contract was issued to Easton Douglas' company under the category of legal services, which is exempted from government procurement guidelines. However, Douglas' company is not a law firm and is listed as a chartered valuator on the website of the National Land Agency.

A probe by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has revealed that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) improperly awarded a multimillion dollar contract to a firm headed by former government minister, Easton Douglas.

The findings of the OCG probe were disclosed in the anti-corruption body’s annual report for 2013 tabled in the Parliament this month.

 

Debbie-Ann Wright reports

The OCG initiated the probe after receiving three complaints alleging improper award of contracts by the UDC.

One of the complaints involved the firm, Easton Douglas and Company.

That complaint alleged that the UDC made payments amounting to more than $4 million to Douglas' firm to review information submitted by three valuators.

But according to the complaint, the total cost should have been $1 million.

In his report, Contractor General, Dirk Harrison, said the UDC reported that the contract was issued under the category of legal services, which is exempted from government procurement guidelines.

However, he said the Douglas' company is not a law firm, adding that it is listed as a chartered valuator on the website of the National Land Agency.

The Contractor General also asserted that the firm could not have been engaged under the legal services category as it was not providing legal services and did not use practising attorneys.

The OCG explained that based on the value of the contract, the Selective Tender procurement methodology should have been used to invite bids.

He concluded that the UDC’s awarding of the contract breached the government’s public sector procurement procedures.