Nov 03, 2018 News Comments Off on City Hall hires contractors on credit – Town Clerk
Town Clerk, Royston King has told Commission of Inquiry into City Hall that contractors conducting work on behalf of the Council do it on a line of credit. King was at the time responding to questions about monies owed to XL Engineering.
Approximately $135M is reportedly owed to the company which King entered a verbal agreement with, to conduct clean up works to Le Repentir Cemetery. However, according to King the amount being claimed by the Company is in dispute.
The Town Clerk explained that because the council does not have the capacity or resources to carry out the works in the city, on its own, it opted to have contractors conduct works on a line of credit.
“This is not the only contractor with which the council had established a line of credit, there are a number of other contractors who chose not to appear before this commission, but who did work based on their own civic consciousness, and a line of credit was established with them,” King said.
“But is it true that you took representatives of the company around the area and pointed out what you wanted done?” asked Commission Chairman Justice Kennard.
“No, that was not done,” said the Town Clerk.
King however noted that it was the City Engineer who instructed the contractors to conduct the work. He said too that it was the City Engineer who was responsible for ensuring the work agreed upon was carried out.
“The City Engineer is still to verify the works carried out,” added King
“But Mr King, it has been a long time since,” said Kennard. “This line of credit I don’t agree with it. I think it would have been prudent to enter into a formal agreement, there would not have been any dispute over the amount owed.”
King told the chairman that the verbal contract was entered into by himself, the City Treasurer and the late Chairman of the Finance Committee with XL Engineering. When questioned about a basis for the contract, King said that there is no source document to supplement the verbal contract.
“These are responsible positions,” the chairman told King. “And you’re going to agree on what to be done without a written contract? I find it unusual.” Justice Kennard said.
King stated that the amount proposed by XL Engineering is currently in dispute, and the city will pay the company after the City Engineer conducts a technical assessment on the works done.
Finance Manager of XL Engineering Aysha Harrop had told the Commission of Inquiry on October 15 last, that the works were conducted during a city-wide cleanup campaign in 2015.
The work, she had said, cost a total $150M. Harrop however explained that the company did not sign a contract with City Hall, since the Town Clerk told them the work was an emergency. Harrop spoke of one contract the company shared between the Council and the Ministry of Communities for $15M.
Of the funds provided by the Ministry of Communities, she had noted that the company only received $9M from that contract. Harrop said: “When we inquired about the payment, Mr King told us that he no longer had the money.”
When asked whether he believes the funds were misappropriated, King said that he would first need to find out why the funds were not paid in completion, in order to answer that question.
However, Harrop had told the commission on October 15 that King gave her company a letter stipulating how much is still owed to the company. The amount stipulated, apart from the initial $15M, Harrop claimed, is $135M.
Justice Kennard asserted that a “word of mouth” contract is not sufficient for works of such magnitude.
The Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of the Mayor and City Council is headed by the Local Government Commission. Its purpose is to examine, advise and report on irregularities of the administration, its operations, and the managements of its financial affairs.
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