Thu | Dec 12, 2019

Christie cracks down on 80 fraud contractors

Published:Wednesday | October 31, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Contractor General Greg Christie - FILE

Since 2010, the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has removed 80 works contractors from the National Contracts Commission's Register of Approved Contractors for falsely representing their resources and technical competencies.

Contractor General Greg Christie said some of these contractors have been referred to the Fraud Squad for criminal investigation and prosecution.

According to Christie, over the last three years, his office has significantly reduced the high incidence of fraud that the contract oversight body detected in the Government works contractor registration process.

Christie's comments are contained in his 2011 annual report to Parlia-ment, the final submission by the OCG boss whose contract ends with the Commission of Parliament on November 30.

However, the OCG boss said in carrying out their duties, threats of violence have been made against his staff. In at least two instances, he said death threats were made against the OCG personnel "and an alleged thwarted execution attempt at one of our staff members".

He said the OCG has had significant opposition from one local contractor grouping.

'MISGUIDED CRITICISM'

Christie also expressed surprise that his office had become the target of "misguided public criticism from the newly elected president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Francis Kennedy".

The contractor general claimed that Kennedy, in a Gleaner article dated October 9, 2012, "reportedly branded the approach of the OCG as one that 'was not conducive to growth and development'".

Describing Kennedy's remarks as "ill-conceived and confounding" Christie noted that the JCC president's remarks raised the "very serious question of whether the Chamber, for example, (was) supportive of the preservation of fraud and corruption in the award of lucrative government contracts to private-sector contractors who, by reason of their fraudulent representations, have been graded and registered as government contractors despite the fact that they are neither adequately qualified, competent nor resourced … ".

Christie contended that the growth and development which the JCC president was seeking for the country would never be realised unless the perception of corruption in Jamaica "is excised from the minds of the foreign private investment community".