Gov’t still awarding contracts to blacklisted firm – PPP
Multimillion dollar contracts are still being awarded to a company that was recently flagged in the Board of Inquiry (BoI) report that was set up to probe allegations of mismanagement and malpractices within the procurement process of pharmaceuticals at the Public Health Ministry.
State Minister, Joseph Harmon on Friday last announced that the Caribbean Medical Supplies Inc received a $27.3M contract for medical supplies. But reports indicate that the BoI had recommended criminal and legal proceedings against the Caribbean Medical Supplies Inc.
Reports are that the company was sole sourced contract to supply $35.1 million of HIV rapid test kits for the Public Health Ministry, however the HIV tests kits were simply bought over the Internet and shipped into the country.
As a result, the BoI had recommended that: “It is the view of the Board of Inquiry that a criminal investigation be launched to determine the authenticity of the letter produced by Caribbean Medical Supplies Inc with a view of instituting criminal charges.”
The People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) in a statement today expressed grave concerns over what it considered the continued flagrant violations and breaches of the procurement laws by the APNU+AFC Administration, as it relates to tendering and award of contracts, specifically, in the public health sector.
PPP noted that as is required by law, contracts of these magnitudes should be properly advertised, companies are required to tender, an evaluation is done, and an award is made to the bidder which satisfies all criteria.
“Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest, that this process has been followed, which raises concerns about the possibility of collusion, price fixing and other corrupt practices,” it stated.
PPP noted that one of the companies involved has had a track record of collusion and was blacklisted by the Government, yet this blacklisted company is now being awarded a hefty contract.
The Party said in another instance one of the local companies that received a huge contract.
“We have been reliably informed has a family member in a senior position at the Ministry of Public Health, which raises the question of conflict of interests, insider trading and other corrupt practices,” the PPP alleged.
The PPP said in the light of repeated scandals regarding the procurement of drugs and medical supplies; where a Minister was sent to the Committee of Privileges of the National Assembly for covering up nefarious practices; the recent scandals involving another Minister, where over $600M of drugs and medical supplies were sole sourced by GPHC and many other repeated violations, one is left to wonder whether there is any intention by the Granger led Administration to comply with the country’s procurement laws.
“In the face of these repeated breaches, we call on the international community, especially the donors whose resources are sometimes used to fund these contracts to be more vigilant,” the statement read.
The PPP insisted that this is another case for immediate investigation and public disclosure by the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).