Fri | Jul 19, 2019

OCG calls for criminal probe against Orchard Solutions Limited in relation to fraud

Published:Wednesday | January 9, 2019 | 2:20 PMJerome Reynolds

The police have been asked to launch an investigation into Orchards Solutions Limited by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) in relation to a case of fraud.

The commission said a probe found that the company submitted a forged National Contracts Commission (NCC) registration letter when it applied for a contract to supply street and flood lamps fixtures to Petrojam in 2016.

It was concluded that Orchard Solutions Limited was not registered with the NCC during the period December 2, 2013 to May 29, 2015.

During the tender process, Petrojam asked the OCG to undertake a verification exercise.

The OCG has been subsumed into the newly-created Integrity Commission.

In its report, which was submit to Parliament yesterday, the OCG said Orchards Solutions' registration letter was forged and the company should be the subject of a police probe.

“The submission of the forged NCC Registration letter is a criminal offence ...'punishable with imprisonment with hard labour for any term not exceeding seven years' pursuant to Section 5 of the Forgery Act,” the report said.

“The submission of the NCC Registration letter by Orchard Solutions Limited constitutes the criminal offence of uttering a forged document. Pursuant to Section 9 of the Forgery Act, “a person utters a forged document..., who knowing it to be forged, and with either of the intents to constitute the offence of forging...” the report added.

The OCG has recommended that the company be suspended or barred from participation in future Government of Jamaica procurement exercises.

The OCG has also recommended that all public bodies develop the practice of verifying the NCC registration of all prospective contractors.

“The OCG considers this recommendation to be absolutely important as there is no latitude for contractors who provide false information or misrepresent information in the public procurement process.

"In this regard, Petrojam Limited must be commended for taking the initiative to independently verify the authenticity of the NCC Registration letter as well as to ensure compliance with the required NCC category. If this verification exercise was not conducted, the discrepancy, in relation to the status of Orchard Solutions Limited’s registration with the NCC may not have been identified.”

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