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AUDIO: 'Ridiculous!' Consultant says $240,000 workshop at UTech took place

Published:Wednesday | March 12, 2014 | 12:40 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Milton Hodelin, an engineer in the Agriculture Ministry, has described as ridiculous, a report from the Finance Ministry that the University of Technology (UTech) paid him $240,000 in 2011 for a workshop that was not delivered.




The inspectorate division of the finance ministry said it examined documents revealing that Hodelin was paid to prepare and present a two-day workshop in government procurement policies, principles, and practices on September 5 and 6, 2011.



However, the investigators said there was no evidence to suggest that the training was delivered and recommended that UTech take measures to immediately recover the money.



However, Hodelin told the Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre this morning that he was engaged at the time as a consultant and that the workshop did take place.



He said “The question I have for them [Finance Ministry investigators], did they speak to any of the vice-presidents, the head of UTech? If they did it would be confirmed that it (training) was held.



"That’s the reason why they [UTech] were invoiced ... and that is why they paid.



“Somebody would have signed off to say, yes, it was satisfactorily completed.



“I am going to get my lawyer. The report didn’t even say somebody – a consultant – they named me!



What sort of professionalism or non-professionalism is that?”, Hodelin said.



He is also directing questions to UTech’s former chief business and finance officer, Deryke Smith.



The investigators said UTech’s Training and Development Manager confirmed in an interview that the training was not organised by her office neither was she aware whether it took place.



They also said the payment of the $240,000 to Hodelin was not processed through UTech’s procurement department and as a result a purchase order was never raised for the transaction.



The findings were contained in an Education Ministry report on allegations of poor governance at the institution.



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