RADA –  Scandal woes, The Auditor General’s Report

A look at the Auditor General’s Report.

The Auditor General’s Department is tasked with and assists parliament to hold to account and call to account, all persons entrusted with management of public funds and Resources.

The Auditor General of Jamaica Pamela Monroe Ellis, in accordance with section 122 of the constitution and sections 29 and 48B of the financial and administration and audit act, submitted a report, which was tabled in parliament in the latter half of October 2019.

The Report which outlined a number of breaches committed by the Agricultural Department RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Authority) has been weaponized by the leader of the People’s National Party Dr. Peter Phillips and opposition shadow Minister of Agriculture Victor Wright.

The 1.6 Billion Scandal at RADA is strengthened by the Auditor General’s report.

The Breakdown:

According to the Report , the periods 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 shows  one hundred and twelve (112) road rehabilitation contracts were reviewed valued at 1.6 billion dollars. The figure at the centre of  the RADA scandal that has led the opposition to launch an investigation into the entity and chairman of RADA  Nigel Myrie to make vehement defense sound bites.

The report states that RADA used the local competitive bidding method for only 4 projects, with a total value of 90.8 million dollars. RADA used the Limited Tender method for 75 contractors amounting to 1.4 billion dollars. There was no procurement basis for those contracts according to the report.

RADA in 6 instances used the LT Method to award contracts valuing 129.8 million dollars despite procurement guidelines not being met. The method used by RADA denied other contractors the opportunity to be a part of the procurement of contract process hence, eliminating their chances of selection.

The agency also used the Direct Procurement and Emergency Methodologies for 33 contracts a value of approximately 520 Million dollars. There were no circumstances that met the requirements for the usage at that methodology. The report further outlined that in 25 of the 33 contract RADA’s justification for the use of chosen methodology did not conform to procurement guidelines.

Details of the report shows that in an examination of tender reports for the 112 contracts, RADA did not produce any evidence to show RADA assessed bidders to establish whether or not they met the criteria of Qualification in compliance with the instruction to bidders and procurement guidelines.

The agriculture agency’s  own  internal audit found that during site inspections in February 2018 it showed that roads rehabilitated in 2017 started to show signs of deterioration within a 3 month time span. Exposed in the audit was the fact that RADA did not conduct any form of pre-qualification exercise of potential bidders, which is a requirement as per the Government.

The priority list for roads to be rehabilitated raised numerous questions. The priority list for the period 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 was presented to the Auditor Generals Department. Suspiciously the list included roads leading to RADA offices in St Mary and St. Ann.

The Monroe Ellis report confirmed that specification for drainage was either omitted or reduced in 53 cases, though RADA had evidence that the quality could be compromised by weather elements.

Reports arising from the auditor General’s department is guided by the vision : “A better country through audit scrutiny”.

 

By Karleyer Edwards – News Reporter

 

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