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Ministry says all JDIP subcontractors were qualified

Published:Friday | November 18, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Transport and Works is denying a special audit report's claim that some of the 15 subcontractors engaged by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), to complete works under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), were not at the required level to qualify for those projects.

"Only grade-one contractors were engaged by CHEC," said Alwin Hales, permanent secretary in the works ministry, during a press conference yesterday.

"We have no evidence of grade-two and three contractors receiving subcontracts from CHEC," he added.

In the auditor general's special report, it was noted that "there was an agreement between the National Works Agency (NWA) and CHEC to select subcontractors from grade-one contractors on the NCC [National Contracts Commission] list in the category of general roadworks".

Grade-two contractors

The report listed Chin's Construction, General Paving, Asphaltic Concrete Enterprise and S & G Road Surfacing Materials as grade-two contractors which received works under the project.

It also listed Brighton Engineers and Valley Slurry Caribbean as grade-three contractors that have been engaged by CHEC.

However, Hales said yesterday that "the ministry has checked with the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and, unfortunately, their website was not able to give us any information as to the status of registration of a contractor at any point in time".

He added: "I thought, given the propensity for advocating transparency, that I could have found that information on the [OCG] website."

He said the ministry would be writing to the OCG for information to "see what was the status of registration of all the subcontractors at any point in time".

He said: "If we find that contrary to our agreement with CHEC, that there has been any engagement of other than grade-one contractors, then we would move right away to correct that particular situation."

During the briefing, NWA CEO Patrick Wong noted: "At the time of the pre-qualification exercise, the contractors that were listed on the NCC list were all grade one. Subsequent to that, a few of the subcontractors indicated to CHEC and to us that with their reclassification, some of them were downgraded to a grade two. Some of them have been upgraded back to grade one."