A Senior Procurement Officer of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) who was sent on leave earlier this year after being accused of tampering with bid documents, is back at work.
Officials said that Michael De Jonge resumed his duties at the NPTAB’s Main Street office, after apparently being cleared.
However, there have not been any statements from either NPTAB or the government.
The case came to the public’s attention earlier this year, after senior officials of NPTAB triggered a probe following reports that certain bid documents relating to a $100M road contract were removed from a secured area and figures were altered upwards.
After reviewing security tapes, the long-serving employee who is also NPTAB’s Training Officer was sent on leave.
It was reported that several bids came in to the NPTAB with one pertaining to a road contract.
Bids would normally come in three copies.
Following the matter coming to the Board’s attention, it was reported that on two copies of the bid documents, the figures were altered to reflect a higher bid for the contractor.
The investigations included review of security tapes to the secured area.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, had made it clear that he will not tolerate wrongdoings with the government instituting a number of measures to protect the country’s tendering system for public contracts.
Over the years, it is estimated that billions of dollars are lost from contracts as a result of shoddy work and collusion.
This matter was handed over to the police and the Public Procurement Commission had reportedly expressed dissatisfaction that it was never officially brought to its attention from the inception by the NPTAB.
In this recent case, there was a recording between a staffer and voice purporting to be De Jonge discussing the matter.
Minister Jordan had made it clear that from his information something irregular happened and that it is something that this administration does not tolerate.
NPTAB is the body through which bids for government contracts are opened, recorded and processed. There had been accusations of wrongdoings in the past with the Coalition Government announcing plans to clean up the system.
With regards to the recording of the staffer and the Procurement Officer, the work colleague, whose name was mentioned on the tape, admitted that he was given $20,000 on the day that the Procurement Officer was allowed to enter the restricted room.
The almost eight-minute tape indicates that the staffers were careful when they met, knowing that an investigation involving the Deputy Finance Secretary of the Ministry of Finance was underway.
NPTAB has largely been silent with a number of staffers raising questions.
Yesterday, a spokesperson of the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that it had not considered a matter involving De Jonge for the period April to June from the police.
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