LABOUR AND Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier has declared that he has "nothing to hide" after Contractor General Greg Christie yesterday announced a probe into the award of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) contracts by the National Works Agency (NWA) to contractors allegedly selected by the minister.
According to Christie, one of the companies selected by Kellier is owned by his brother.
In a Gleaner/Power 106 News interview yesterday, Kellier hit back saying his brother was a registered contractor who is entitled to work in Jamaica.
Kellier admitted he made recommendations to the NWA, but argued that the final decision rested with the accounting officer at the government agency.
He stressed that it was normal operating procedures.
Kellier also dismissed as nonsense suggestions that he might have influenced the process in favour of his brother.
In a release yesterday, Christie pointed out that official NWA documents, sequestered by his office during a visit to the agency's St James Parish Office, showed that at least one of the alleged contracts, amounting to $270,000, was awarded in December 2010 by the NWA upon the specific written instructions of one "Derrick Kellier, CD, MP, South St James" to M & K Heavy Equipment Hireage Co. Ltd.
He said the company is listed by the Registrar of Companies as being 80 per cent owned and controlled by one "Martin Kellier".
The People's National Party's councillor for the Welcome Hall division of St James South is Martin Kellier.
ENQUIRY TRIGGERED BY COMPLAINT
Responding to questions posed by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG), personnel at the NWA's St James Parish Office have alleged that "contractors were selected by the member of parliament, who had provided the names of the contractors on the work programme which was sent to the implementing agency".
The oversight body's initial enquiry into the matter was triggered by a written complaint and allegation by a concerned citizen, on July 20.
The OCG is also in possession of other official NWA documents which establish that another CDF government contract, in the sum of $840,000, was awarded in November 2011, by the NWA, to the said M & K Heavy Equipment Hireage Co. Ltd, for the execution of certain specified works, at certain specified locations.
The specified works and locations match exactly the works specifications that one "Derrick F. Kellier" had previously communicated to the NWA, in writing, as works that he wanted the NWA to execute.
The OCG is moving to investigate the particulars of the contracts that have been subject to the alleged arrangement.
In addition, the oversight body is seeking to ascertain whether the prescribed Government of Jamaica Procurement Procedures and CDF guidelines were complied with in the award of the contracts.
The OCG said it would also seek to determine whether the contracts were awarded impartially and on merit and in circumstances that did not involve impropriety or irregularity.
The findings of the probe will be submitted to Parliament.