Reading the Auditor General’s report makes you say ” where have I heard that before“. Lets take a quick look at previous large projects by the government of Jamaica and the AG description of his /her findings.
AG REPORT 2001/2002
NORTHERN COASTAL HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT(SEGMENT 1)
The Government of Jamaica, with financial support from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is developing the infrastructure along the country’s northern coastline. Under this initiative, the captioned Project aims to improve approximately 268 kilometres of the coastal road – from Negril to Port Antonio via Montego Bay. Segment 1 of the Northern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (NCHIP) extends eastwards 71.2 kilometres from Negril roundabout to Bogue (Just outside Montego Bay). The audit of the Project disclosed considerable time overrun as the contract should have been completed by September 1999 but was still incomplete at 6th September, 2002. Cost overrun was also substantial as the original contract price was for $974M. However, $2.572B has been spent on this segment to date, an overrun of $1.597B or 164%. The major reason for the cost overrun was said to be the low tender price by the original contractor whose contract was terminated, and by the subsequent sub-contractors which were being used to complete the Project.
AG REPORT 2003
URBAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
AG comments on the UDC
Breach of Contract Guidelines
A contract for the reconstruction of the Mondo track at the National Stadium valued at $49.8M was fragmented into 13 separate contracts each under four $4M thereby circumventing the requirement for the award to be done on the recommendation of the National Contracts Commission Sector Committee and approval by Cabinet.
(ii) Inadequate Selection Process
There was no evidence that a competitive tendering process was employed in the selection of four contractors for works valued at $61.2M, as stipulated by Government’s procurement procedures. Recommendation was made that there should be future compliance to ensure that the process is fair and transparent and that the best prices are obtained.
The Gleaner (2003)
IF IT isn’t corruption, it is negligence – a shocking litany of waste, extravagance and maladministration, the latest lament being the proposal by the Ministry of Health to write off $300 million of hospital accounts receivable as uncollectible.
This comes on top of the $350 million yet to be accounted for in Operation Pride, the evidentiary files of which have mysteriously disappeared
DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Kent Pantry yesterday declined to say what direction he has given to the police over claims of corruption on Operation PRIDE projects, but there were suggestions last night that Pantry has recommended that the construction firm, Danwill Ltd, be charged with fraud involving more than $340 million.
The Angus commission found overruns on projects of about $1 billion and concluded that Blythe was an interventionist minister who ran Operation PRIDE as a “brotherhood” with a close crowd.
AG SPECIAL REPORT ON JDIP 2011
7. We found that poor planning of the Christiana Development Road Project resulted in frequent changes in the design alignment and undue delays in implementation. For example, the MTW had to submit two separate submissions to Cabinet, on November 10, 2010 and February 11, 2011, for the acquisition of 14 and 12 parcels of land respectively to facilitate the implementation of the project. Further, the MTW, in a letter dated January 11, 2011, asked the NWA to explain ‘why some parcels of land that are in the middle of the new road were not a part of the original 14.”
8. Contrary to Cabinet’s instruction, we found that the RMF used JDIP funds to acquire lands for JDIP projects instead of the Government’s 2011-12 budgets. We observed that the NWA, in two letters dated May 3, and July 4, 2011, informed CHEC to arrange payments, as a matter of urgency, to four landowners for the sum of JA$8.2M. The aggregate appraised value for lands required for the road construction amounts to JA$78.9M.
9. NWA did not provide supporting documents, including the competency of the assessor, to allow for the authentication of the payment of JA$8M for crops purportedly damaged during the construction of the Christiana Development Road.
10. We found that the RMF was unable to identify works amounting to JA$23.2M, which the NWA certified as being satisfactorily completed
Why is it so difficult to have a government funded project executed without cost overrun , corruption and maladministration. Why is it so difficult for Jamaicans to just get the job done without robbing from the rest of Jamaicans leaving us with huge bills and no value for money.
We just need to change the year and the party, the results are exactly the same year after year, just pick any AG report and you see the very same set of findings and recommendations year after year.
As a people we must come to the realization that we have a serious problem when it comes unto accountability, ethical behaviour and honesty which is killing the country.
How long will this continue?
I think it will continue for years to come or until we decide that we are a major part of the problem plaguing Jamaica and decide to end our corrupt ways.
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