OCG uncovers alleged corruption at KSAC
The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has uncovered what it says is another instance of corruption in the award of Government contracts.
In a release from the OCG it says that there appears to be major fraud allegedly involving at least three name Councilors from the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Council (KSAC).
The release states that official OCG prescribed Quarterly Contract Award (QCA) reports which were formally submitted by the KSAC to the OCG, disclosed that the contracts in question, which number at least 114, and which are valued at more than $96 million in aggregate, were awarded between November 2006 and November 2010 by the KSAC.
The contracts, the overwhelming majority of which are gully and drain cleaning contracts, were awarded to a contractor who has admitted, in a sworn, tape recorded and signed statement given to the OCG, that she is a fake contractor who was merely acting as a front for the named Parish Councilors and a staff member of the KSAC’s Roads and Works Division, the release said.
The fake contractor who, based upon OCG internal investigations, fraudulently secured registration with the National Contracts Commission (NCC) as a Government works contractor, had listed three staff members on her NCC Contractor Re-registration Application Form.
However, two of the persons, when interviewed by the OCG, disclosed that they neither knew of the Contractor nor had they worked for her, the release continued.
The fake contractor, who was summoned to the OCG to account for the discrepancy in the sworn representations which she had made in her Application Form, cooperated fully with the OCG and disclosed the extent of the alleged scam.
Among the disclosures, were the following:
(1) The identity of the three KSAC Councilors and staff-member who she has implicated.
(2) That she does not know the so called staff-members who are listed on her NCC Contractor Re-registration Application Form, nor has any of the named persons ever worked for her.
(3) That she receives the contract awards or projects from the implicated KSAC Councilors and staff-member and that the projects are actually undertaken by agents of the named persons, but the said works are done in the name of her business, which is a ‘front’.
(4) That after being paid the contract sums by the KSAC, she takes the money from the bank and pays over same to the implicated KSAC personnel who, in return, gives her a fee of ten per cent of the contract sums.
(5) That she does not have any construction or works experience, and that her role on the works sites is to “just stand and look from morning till evening”.
(6) That she has no staff employed to her ‘business’, and that the workers who are engaged on the works sites are provided by the implicated KSAC Councilors and staff-member.
(7) That there are other Councilors who she works with but whose names she cannot recall.
(8) That to facilitate her written application to the NCC to be re-registered as a Government contractor, she paid a fee of $15,000 to a named third party who, in turn, completed the NCC application form, inclusive of providing the particulars of the fake staffing information.
The OCG, will be formally referring the matter to the police.
In its release the OCG also highlighted that it has made several requests to the Government, and to the NCC, for the provision of additional staff to assist it in its zero tolerance scrutiny of works contractors’ application forms so as to minimize delays in the NCC contractor registration process whilst ensuring that all fraudulent contractor applicants are removed from the NCC’s list of approved Government contractors.
However, to date, the OCG’s requests for additional resources have fallen on deaf ears, the release finished.