Above: Works Minister Dr Omar Davies
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A forensic audit of has found a number of breaches in two major infrastructure projects in the country, according to Works Minister Dr Omar Davies.
The audit revealed a “host of occurrences which demonstrate complete disregard for normal and well-established government practices” in the $400 million USD Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme and the Palisadoes Shoreline Protection and Rehabilitation Works Project.
The audit was performed by Kroll Consultants.
“The report from the forensic auditor has unearthed wanton disregard for the conventions and procedures established by the government of Jamaica for project implementation, administration and management,” Dr Davies said. “These breaches of existing procurement guidelines have drained precious budgetary resources and undermined the very foundation of public institutional integrity.”
According to the JDIP contract, it proposed 19 projects. The number of projects changed to more than 1,000, however, he said.
“The Road Maintenance Fund, the institution which is the borrower of the loan from China EX-IM Bank, was not consulted during the development of the master list of projects,” he said. “The forensic auditor was unable to obtain any documentation which details the rationale underlying the development of the master list.”
The audit began in April. It was first announced by former Prime Minister Andrew Holness in December 2011.
The alleged mismanagement of the programme, which is funded by a loan facility from China, led to the resignation of former Works Minister Mike Henry in November 2011.
JDIP is implemented by contractor China Harbour Engineering Company.
According to Davies, JDIP funds were used for several projects beyond the scope of its contract, such as repair work for storm damage from Tropical Storm Nicole.
The $68 million USD Palisadoes project, which is aimed at supporting Jamaica’s Palisadoes Peninsula, is also being funded by EX-IM Bank.