Sat | Oct 24, 2020

All clear for JDIP audit

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

PERMANENT SECRETARY in the Ministry of Transport and Works Audrey Sewell says the major hurdles in the process of carrying out a forensic audit of the US$400-million Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) have been cleared.

Sewell told The Gleaner yesterday that the ministry has completed the terms of reference and request for proposals (RFP), clearing the way for interested persons to submit tenders.

Transport, Works and Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies had expressed surprise in January that a forensic audit into JDIP, announced by former Prime Minister Andrew Holness in November, last year, had not got off the ground. Holness had said that the audit would be done in the "shortest possible time".

Yesterday, Sewell told The Gleaner that the ministry was now more than halfway through the process to begin the forensic audit, adding that the Government's procurement procedures had to be followed.

"We have written to the National Contracts Commission to ask for permission to use a specific methodology to tender. We await a response from them," she said.

Damning report

Holness had announced that his administration would conduct a forensic audit into JDIP in the wake of a damning report on the controversial project by the Auditor General's Department.

Following the tabling of the report in Parliament, Patrick Wong, the former chief executive officer of the National Works Agency, and Mike Henry, the then responsible minister, resigned. Dr Alwin Hales, the former permanent secretary in the transport and works ministry, has been transferred to the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.

At present, Contractor General Greg Christie is also carrying out an extensive probe into the JDIP.

And, an audit of the J$60 million worth of furniture acquired by the National Works Agency under the Palisadoes Shoreline Protection Programme has been completed and a report is to be submitted to the permanent secretary.

Sewell said the principal finance officer at the ministry was leading the audit. Investigators from the OCG have also been involved in the process.

Asked what was the next step following the completion of the audit, Sewell said the ministry had to ensure that "whatever was ordered or shipped is what is delivered; because no payment has been made as yet, we have to ensure that whatever claims are made we are getting value for money."

She pointed out that the ministry would be seeking to reconcile the furniture ordered and sent by the shippers with that which was stocked away in the containers.