Tue | Sep 26, 2017

NWA says it would be difficult for Clarendon road project money to be misspent

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2017 | 3:03 AM

Chief Executive Officer of the National Works Agency (NWA), E.G. Hunter, is contending that the payment system for the Soursop Turn to Chapleton, Clarendon, road project makes it extremely difficult for any skulduggery to take place.

Hunter has also said no assessment of the $1.3 billion road project, supports claims by Clarendon North Western representative Richard Azan that money from the project covered a $7-million hotel bill, shoes and jewellery.

The project started out with funding help from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting.

Hunter said invoices have to go through local checking process and then sent to OPEC's headquarters in Austria for further due diligence.

He notes that these invoices are submitted by contractors upon completion of their work.

Hunter says the NWA then checks to make sure that whatever the contractor is claiming for has, in fact, been done.

He further explains that if the contractor claims for something that, in the view of the NWA’s engineer, is not justifiable at that point in time then the engineer will eliminate it.

Hunter said the certificate will then go to the parent ministry, in this case the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, and then to the Finance Ministry.

He says when that process is concluded, the local portion of the contract is paid and those documents are bundled and sent to Austria for OPEC to do their due diligence.

Hunter’s comments follow a demand by the Government yesterday for the opposition member of parliament to produce evidence supporting his statements that money for the project was improperly spent.

The project, which was due to end in March 2016, has overrun its budget by five per cent and is now scheduled to be completed in April.