As it relates to advance payments to contractors and the non-commencement of works, the Auditor General’s Office has discovered that one contractor received an advance payment of $39M in 2017 from Region Number 10.
In his latest report, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, said that the contract for the construction of a Regional Administration Building was awarded by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) to the lowest responsive bidder in the sum of $265.6M against an engineer’s estimate of $249.3M.
Sharma said that the contract was signed on December 29, 2017 and the works were expected to be completed two years after the commencement date. The AG said that as at December 31, 2017, an advance payment in the sum of $39M was made to the contractor.
Sharma said that a site inspection revealed several worrying things. Among these, he said, is the fact that the site was abandoned, that no equipment or personnel were present; and a quantity of white sand was stockpiled with two material storage sheds.
Sharma said that the full advance payment of $39M was prepared and processed in the name of the contractor but at the time of payment, no bond was lodged by the contractor. It was only last February that one was produced. The Auditor General said that this is a breach of procurement laws.
At the time of the audit in July 2018, the Auditor General noted, too, that the RDC was now requesting permission to go to tender for supervisory consultancy services for the supervision of the works for the contract which was awarded since December 29, 2017. The AG was alarmed that the contractor was already in possession of the advance money when no supervisor was in place.
The Government in response to this finding by the AG said that the matter is currently engaging the attention of the Ministries of Communities and Finance with the view to engaging a Supervising Consultant.
Sharma said that the same contractor received $73.1M advance payment from the Ministry of Public Health in 2017 and at the time of reporting, no significant works had commenced on site.
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