OCG flays Paulwell over Hong Kong energy project bidder
Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter
The Office of the Contractor General has ruled that Hong Kong-based company Energy World International Limited should be excluded from the list of entities to be considered to take on the government’s 360 megawatt project.
In a special report, the OCG says the company’s proposal was not sent to the OUR within the time frame for the submission of bids.
The OCG says the company benefited from what it labels as the irregular and improper intervention of Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell.
The office says the company wrote to Paulwell on April 21 outlining its interest in investing and developing an energy project in Jamaica.
The submission for bids for the 360 megawatt project had already closed on March 15.
The OCG says eight days after, Paulwell wrote back to the company informing that it could go ahead and submit its proposal to the OUR.
The OCG says this improper intervention of the energy minister, and the consequent acceptance of the proposal by the OUR, was unfair and compromised the integrity of the process.
According to the OCG, it found that the OUR adjusted its time frame to process the bid for the 360 megawatt project to facilitate the company’s proposal.
The Office says in this regard, there was unfairness as preference was given to the Hong Kong company.
The OCG has recommended, among other things, that the Parliament implement legislation to preserve the independence of Independent Regulators and Regulating Bodies and sanctions for those who interfere with their authority.
Meanwhile, Paulwell has dismissed comments by the OCG that he intervened improperly in the bidding process.
According to Paulwell, the conclusions by the OCG are based on a lack of understanding of the process on which the OUR had embarked to recommend a preferred bidder.
He has also rubbished the accusation by the OCG that he made inaccurate statements to Parliament and his "improper" intervention compromised the integrity of the procurement process.
The energy minister referred to a statement from the Acting Director General of the OUR, Maurice Charvis, which he says confirms that the OUR provided the information upon which his statement was based.
Paulwell has also sought to defend the integrity of the evaluation process, noting that the proposals were evaluated by an independent evaluator and not by the OUR.
He says he’ll present a more detailed response to the OCG's report.
But in the interim, he wants the OUR to release all information relevant to the process.
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