OCG investigates JDIP contract to China Harbour
It appears that a claim by the government that it had to hire a Chinese firm to execute the US$400 million Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) as part of a loan agreement maybe false.
This was revealed in a release from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) in which it announced it would be launching a special investigation into the award of the contract to China Harbour Engineering Company.
The OCG says it decided to investigate the matter following permanent secretary in the transport and works ministry, Dr. Alwin Hales’ failure to substantiate claims that the loan from the China Exim Bank came with a precondition that a Chinese company had to be contracted to carry out the project.
The claim was made by transport and works minister, Mike Henry in a rebuttal of a media release by the OCG.
The OCG had raised concerns that such a large contract had been awarded to one entity and without being put to tender.
The OCG says its examination of the contractual and financing documentation between the China Exim Bank and Jamaica did not substantiate Henry’s claims.
The OCG says it therefore wrote to the permanent Secretary on June 28 asking that he provide evidence to substantiate the minister’s claim.
But it says Dr. Hales’ response on July 13 failed to explicitly point the OCG to the provisions in the agreements which would lend credence to the Minister’s claims.
The OCG says when it pressed further for specifics, Dr. Hales made a further response on July 19.
The OCG says Hales wrote that there were areas of the news reports about Minister Henry’s statements that conflict with the facts.
Dr. Hales reportedly also said he could not satisfy the OCG’s request for evidence to substantiate the claim as there is no such provision in the agreement.
Attempts to reach transport and works minister, Mike Henry, for a comment were unsuccessful as his phone rang without an answer.