UDC admits Dudus-linked company still on its payroll
Tyrone Reid, Staff Reporter
After an initial denial, the state-owned Urban Development Corporation (UDC) has admitted that it hired and is still paying millions of dollars to a company partially owned by extradited west Kingston strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
The UDC says it has one contract with the firm Bulls Eye Security Services Limited, but it is still checking its records to see if there are any others.
Late last month, the UDC told The Gleaner that it had not issued any contract to Bulls Eye, which lists Coke as a shareholder. Coke was previously listed as a director but is believed to have pulled out because of requirements that would force him to be fingerprinted.
But, last week, in a letter to The Gleaner, the UDC said it erred in its denial.
"We wish to state for the record that the UDC, in expediting what was deemed to be an urgent request from a Gleaner reporter to meet a cut-off deadline for publication, stated: "The UDC has not awarded any contract to Bulls Eye Security Services Limited.
"The company was engaged by contractors Jatlin Construction and Associates and Alcar Construction Limited for the St William Grant Park and Downtown Transport Centre projects, respectively," read a section of the UDC's missive.
"However, a further review of our records has indicated that in one instance, July 2009, the services of Bulls Eye were contracted within the provisions of the Procurement Guidelines by way of limited tender. The contract, which is valued at $5.28 million, expires on March 4, 2011 and services the UDC project located at the corner of Church and North (streets)."
The UDC argued that the $5.28-million contract should be placed in the context of its entire security bill of $205.4 million, spread across seven contractors.
According to the UDC, it was supportive of any initiative that will result in improvements to, and the strengthening of, the Govern-ment's procurement process.
Last month, a source at the Private Security Regulation Authority told The Gleaner that in addition to security services being provided for projects at the St William Grant Park and the transport centre, both in downtown Kingston, four other contracts were listed by Bulls Eye that are all linked to the UDC.