Contracts being signed now are all legal, says Harmon
Director General at the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon on Thursday declared that all contracts signed by the Government after December 2019 are legal.
“These are funds which were allocated in the 2019 budget and so this is not new monies that we are looking for, this is not something that is hidden. These are award of contracts that were publicly tendered,” Harmon told reporters at the sidelines of an event at State House.
He was at the time responding to comments made by Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), Bharrat Jagdeo who has continuously accused the Government of signing new contracts to syphon off monies.
Jagdeo at his Thursday press conference repeated the issue, noting that “any contract issued in this period, particularly those signed after the end of the fiscal year on December 31…they’re going to be in trouble.”
Jagdeo argued that it is illegal for monies processed in 2019 to be spent in 2020 unless the contracts have already begun.
Harmon, however, stated that the process for the award of projects began three to six months before December 31, 2019.
“These contracts were part of our budgetary presentation in the 2019 budget and the process of awarding a contract started months ago before you actually come to the point of signing,” the Director-General said.
He explained that the projects had to move through the tendering processes before it reached to Cabinet for approval. Harmon accused the Opposition Leader of creating an unnecessary situation.
The issue was brought to the fore after the Ministry of Education signed an $826.7M contract for the construction of the Yarrowkabra Secondary School on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway on January 7.
But Harmon said this should not be an issue because “we are spending money on education…the idea is that every man woman and child will be able to upgrade their education qualifications.”