Fri | Dec 1, 2023

IC raps Bethlehem Moravian ex-principal for procurement breaches

Published:Thursday | March 2, 2023 | 12:34 AM
Kevon Stephenson
Kevon Stephenson

Integrity Commission Director of Investigation (DI) Kevon Stephenson has chided former principal of the Bethlehem Moravian College, Yvonne Clarke, for allegedly breaching the Government’s procurement rules when she awarded a $7.4-million contract to Gayrol Smith for transportation services on September 20, 2016.

In a report to Parliament, Stephenson indicated that the then Office of the Contractor General (OCG) investigated the procurement process, which led to the award of contracts by the St Elizabeth-based college to three contractors, including Smith. The other two are Atlas Protection Limited and Décor Spaces.

The probe commenced in November 2016 after the OCG received an anonymous letter of complaint.

However, in discussing the conclusions of the probe, Stephenson said that the college utilised the limited tender procurement methodology to award a contract to Smith.

He concluded that because the Bethlehem Moravian College failed to obtain the required National Contracts Commission (NCC) certificate from Smith, it breached Section 1.3.1 of the Government of Jamaica Handbook of Public Sector Procurement Procedures.

Stephenson argued that this made the procurement process undertaken by the college irregular.

“The DI recommends that the principal and the procurement committee of the Bethlehem Moravian College ensure that potential government contractors possess and present the requisite documentation, which qualifies them to participate in procurement opportunities offered by [Bethlehem Moravian] as prescribed by the GOJ Handbook of Public Procurement Procedures,” the report said.

Stephenson said that his recommendation was based on the breach of procurement rules “observed in relation to the award of contract to Mr Gayrol Smith by Mrs Yvonne Clarke, former principal, on behalf of the Bethlehem Moravian College, wherein the bidder did not provide an NCC certificate at the time of bid submission”.

The DI also concluded that there is no evidence to support allegations that there was an irregularity in the award of a contract to Atlas Protection Limited for the provision of Security Services at Bethlehem Moravian.

The DI also cleared the college of alleged wrongdoing in the award of a contract to Décor Spaces for the provision of consulting services.

Stephenson said that Bethlehem Moravian utilised the direct contracting procurement methodology under urgent circumstances for the award of a contract to Décor Spaces, which was in accordance with government guidelines.