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Concerns raised about Prime Minister’s $13.82M vehicle at Public Accounts Committee

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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met with Permanent Secretaries and other Ministry officials to address various financial issues and audit queries in the National Assembly today (Monday, May 22, 2017).

During Monday’s meeting, the move by the Office of the Prime Minister via sole sourcing, to purchase a Toyota GX Land Cruiser Wagon at a cost of $13.82M was raised by Acting PAC Chairman Juan Edghill.

Edghill requested information about why two separate cheques were issued in January. He asked why the two payments were made then and the vehicle was only delivered in December of 2016, several months later.

The vehicle was officially registered on October 5, 2016, after arriving on September 26, 2016.

A question was asked as to why the long delay and whether permission was given to retain the 2015 money allocated for the vehicle, in 2016. In response, the PS of the Ministry of the Presidency, Abeena Moore said that an early delivery was expected, but failed to materialise.

Seeking clarification, Ministry of Finance, Finance Secretary Dr. Hector Butts noted that permission should have been sought before such an action was taken. Dr. Butts added that the money for 2015 should have been returned and the money requested would have then been catered for in the 2016 Budget for the Ministry.

It was also noted that a letter for a waiver should have been applied for, via a letter to the National Tender Board. “A bad example was set” by the Ministry,  Edghill stated, as what occurred, “can open up all kinds of speculation.” He warned that sole sourcing should not be done by the Ministry as procurement laws had to be followed.

Commitments were given that the lapses which occurred would not happen again.

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