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Oct 16, 2017

Did Ministry of Works Violate Finance and Audit Reform Act?

But before it gets to that, COLA has engaged Kareem Musa to write to the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Works, Errol Gentle, along with Minister Rene Montero and Contractor General Godwin Arzu, under the Freedom of Information Act. Musa seeks a look at the specific contract to Hernandez, the selective tendering process employed by the Ministry of Works, and the reported consent of the Contractor General.  Musa reported today that already they are receiving information that Hernandez’s bid was the sole one presented, and the fact that he is already at work raises even more eyebrows. He aims to get the contract stopped in court.


Kareem Musa, Attorney for COLA

“Under the Finance and Audit Reform Act, section nineteen-five, that any contract, any procurement in excess of five million dollars ought to be under the open tendering procedure, and we get the initial remarks from the Government that this was not done; so this ought to have been open to tender, and according to the Government in their first press release, it was selective tendering process. But even if you look at the selective tendering process, it is the obligation of the Government to get substantial applications, not just one. So my initial reports are this was the only tender. So whether you look at it from the standpoint – for one they are in breach of the open tendering process, because they ought to have done that, but even if you look at the selective tendering process, they ought to have received several applications from selected bidders; they did not do that, according to my information. We expect to receive a response within two weeks of this letter. After that, I have explained to Geovannie the options – we are looking at possibly injunctions against the Government. as you know these things are paid out in tranches so hopefully we can get something very early on. And it would be a judicial review claim against the Ministry of Works for acting ultra vires the Act, because they employed the selective tendering process, by their own admission, when it ought to have been done [by] open tendering.  We have put them on notice and we are doing so again today, that we want all of this information, because this is something that is rarely used, but it is something that should be used more often – to request information under the Freedom of Information Act. But we are putting them on notice: not only do we want information, but we are considering legal action, so that goes not only for the contractor but the Ministry of Works. They, in the end, will have to pay damages if it is they acted ultra vires – perhaps not the contractor, but the Government would be responsible if they acted outside of the law.”


Musa’s contacts with companies familiar with concreting streets suggest that a similar contract would only be worth between three point six and four point five million dollars at most.

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