Business as usual for OCG
Tyrone Reid, Staff Reporter
A strident Contractor General Greg Christie has declared that a death threat, punctuated with expletives, received on Tuesday afternoon by a senior director at the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) will not prevent his office from fulfilling its mandate.
"Our mandate is very clear: remove thievery, thuggery, skulduggery and corruption from the Jamaican government's contracts awards process. We will not be intimidated. The job will be done," said a defiant Christie.
The contractor general praised the police for prompt and professional response to the threat.
"The police have been good to us. They have been very responsive," he said.
Since his appointment as contractor general in December 2005, Christie has spearheaded an aggressive campaign for transparency in the awards process for state contracts. His no-holds-barred approach has gained him admirers and detractors alike.
Christie told The Gleaner that his team understood that death threats were par for the course, because in its role as watchdog of the country's contracts awards process it would prevent money from getting into the pockets of corrupt individuals.
"We know that what we are dealing with is dangerous, but how else are we going to deal with it?" he asked.
The issuing of state contracts is big business.
Christie said in 2008 some 10,000 contracts, worth $250,000 or more, were issued for the procurement of goods, works and services to more than 2,400 contractors by roughly 190 public bodies totalling northwards of $50 billion.
Meanwhile, the church implicated in the criminal conspiracy has pledged to conduct an investigation into the matter to ascertain the alleged involvement of two of its congregants. Karl James, church secretary at the Bethel Baptist Church in Half-Way Tree, pledged that the church would cooperate but requested that the authorities provide the names of the persons fingered in the criminal conspiracy involving the award of government contracts by the National Housing Trust.
Lola Shakes, church administrator at the Bethel Baptist Church, insisted that no such meeting was formally sanctioned or facilitated by the church.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Senior director receives an expletive-laced telephone call from an unidentified man threatening his life. After the call ended, the senior director retrieved the mobile phone number and returned the call. During the ensuing conversation the death threat was repeated. The senior director immediately briefed Contractor General Greg Christie.
Christie reported the matter to Les Green, assistant commissioner of police in charge of serious crimes, over the telephone.
Two senior officers from the organised crime unit arrived at the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) to discuss the death threat.
The officers left the OCG's New Kingston offices.