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'AZAN Corrupt' - OCG slams junior minister for Spaldings Market saga ... says Paulwell interfered with power plant bidding process

Published:Wednesday | September 18, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Junior Minister Richard Azan
Contractor General Dirk Harrison
Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell
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TWO REPORTS prepared by Contractor General Dirk Harrison have alleged improper conduct on the part of two government ministers in separate projects.

In one of the reports, tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday, Harrison characterised as improper, the intervention of Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell into the tender process for the construction of the 360-megawatt power plant and the acceptance of one of the bidders after the deadline that had been set.

Dismissing the contractor general's findings, Paulwell declared: "I am fighting for Jamaica's very future, and I will not be derailed from my objective."

Harrison, in a separate report, concluded that State Minister Richard Azan's actions in the messy Spaldings Market saga were, at best, "politically corrupt".

Harrison has referred the Azan matter to the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to determine if the politician and others should be charged for conspiracy to defraud the revenue of the Clarendon Parish Council.

The report into the Spaldings Market saga came six months after the Office of the Contractor General began its investigations.

The 140-page report into what Harrison described as a "web of conspiracy", first reported by The Sunday Gleaner in April this year, also contained what appears to be a call for the junior minister's head.

Last night, the Reverend Dr Paul Gardner, chairman of the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition, said the findings of the OCG run contrary to what is desirable for the country.

"The two matters are blows to good governance, and this cannot be good for the country," he said.

AZAN SHOULD RESIGN

Gardner told The Gleaner that Azan, who swore that he did not benefit from the Spaldings Market affair, should go.

"The minister should know by now that he made an error for which he should do the honourable thing and resign, or the prime minister should ask him to resign," Gardner said.

At the same time, he said more time is needed to determine how to proceed with the 360-megawatt project.

"It amazes me that with these important projects, we continue to squander the opportunities they present. I am disappointed with the handling of this. The OCG's report needs to be studied and Government should look at the report before rushing to make an announcement. The project is important, but it cannot be done at all cost."

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- Junior Minister Richard Azan

Paulwell said.


We cannot have the Office of the Contractor General derailing this matter again. It has to go forward.

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- Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell