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Gov't could save by intervening in OCG decisions - Mines official

Published:Thursday | June 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM

A senior public official has suggested that the country could save more money if the Government rejects some of the positions of the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).

Managing director of Jamaica Bauxite Mining Limited, Coy Roache, made the declaration at yesterday morning's post-Cabinet press briefing.

"Sometimes, I would wish the Government would intervene in some instances," Roache said.

He cited one example in 2011, when Jamaica tried to sell to UC Rusal, its seven per cent stake in the West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO).

"We went to the OCG; they distinctly said the law says 'do two valuations', no flexibility at all," Roache recalled.

"I was written (to) and told do a second one. It cost us $18.5 million to hire another company to do a second valuation. Costing us US$7 million more to pay to UC Rusal, because the debt grew over that period," said Roache.


The debt to which Roache was referring was a US$14-million bill owed to WINDALCO's Russian-based parent company.

Roache said because of the OCG's insistence in 2011, Jamaica was unable to sell its seven per cent share in WINDALCO to Rusal. As a result, he said, the debt to the Rusal has grown from US$14 million in 2011 to US$21.15 million in 2014. At the same time, Roache said the value of the Government's seven per cent share remained at US$11 million.

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell on Tuesday announced that the Government had inked an agreement with UC Rusal to sell the seven per cent stake in WINDALCO for US$11 million.

However, Paulwell said Jamaica would not pocket a dollar from the sale, since the money would be used to pay down on the US$21.15-million debt to UC Rusal.