World Bank bans CJIA contractor
- Jamaica raises fresh concerns
“The World Bank Group has identified corruption as one of the single greatest obstacles to economic and social development in its member countries, inclusive of Jamaica.”
The parent company of the Chinese firm that was controversially awarded the US$150M deal by the Bharrat Jagdeo administration to rebuild the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) was banned by the World Bank three years ago for corruption, Jamaica authorities have said.
Jamaica’s Contractor-General, Greg Christie, was yesterday quoted by the Jamaica Gleaner, as saying that China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) has been debarred since January 2009, by the World Bank, under the Bank’s ‘Fraud and Corruption Sanctioning Policy.’
CCCC is the parent company of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) which was controversially awarded the contract to carry out massive expansion works on CJIA last November. That contract was secretly inked in Jamaica and Guyanese only learnt of it after it was reported in newspapers there.
The Guyana Government has heavily defended the airport deal saying that it will target markets from Asia and Africa for passengers.
Yesterday, the independent Office of the Contractor General (OCG) which is tasked with monitoring Government contracts in Jamaica issued a strongly worded statement.
The OCG said under the terms of the World Bank debarment, CCCC and “any firm directly or indirectly controlled by CCCC, has been declared ineligible to be awarded any World Bank-financed contracts that are related to “roads and bridges”, during the period January 12, 2009 to January 12, 2017.
It said that CHEC is a major subsidiary of CCCC, and one of the two entities that is currently listed by CCCC as its “overseas business” as such the debarment automatically extends to CHEC.
The World Bank Group has identified corruption as one of the single greatest obstacles to economic and social development in its member countries, inclusive of Jamaica.
However, the bank has been combating corruption and fraud in public sector contracting to prohibit its member countries from awarding World Bank financed contracts to any of the firms or individuals that the bank has sanctioned under its Fraud and Corruption Policy.
Since 1999, more than 330 firms and individuals have been sanctioned and debarred by the Bank for engaging in fraud and corruption on World Bank financed projects.
The new information about CHEC’s parent company is the latest controversy in relation to the Government of Jamaica’s business dealings with the company, the Jamaican Gleaner report said.
In August 2009, CHEC was awarded a US$400 million contract, on a sole-source basis, by the Government, to execute its Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme.
The loan agreement between the China Exim Bank, which financed $340 million of the contract sum, and the Government, was signed in February 2010. Both agreements were executed several months after CHEC had been debarred by the World Bank.
In commenting on the developments regarding the World Bank’s debarment of CHEC, the Contractor General, Greg Christie, has raised the issue as to whether the Government, in its due diligence exercises, if any, had identified CHEC’s debarred status and, if so, what decisions were taken by it about the matter.
“Now that it is known that the World Bank, in the judicious application of its anti-fraud and anti-corruption policies in public contracting, has had cause to sanction and to debar CCCC and CHEC from receiving World Bank financed contracts, the obvious question that now arises is whether this is something that the Government, as a matter of good, prudent and diligent business practice, intends to be guided by in the award of its own contracts that are financed from non-World Bank sources,” Christie said.
“The OCG, in keeping with its mandates under the law, has always been of the view that Jamaica’s economic development must be pursued in a sustainable and responsible manner, and within an appropriate system of institutionalized independent checks and balances which will ensure probity, transparency, accountability and value for money in all Government commercial transactions,” he continued.