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$150M expansion CJIA does not have documents for audit office - Patterson

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$150M expansion CJIA does not have documents for audit office - Patterson

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Nov 01, 2019

https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2019 ... patterson/

$150M airport expansion CJIA does not have documents to give audit office - Patterson
Nov 01, 2019

There is a new twist to the tale, concerning the US$150M Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) project.

Minister of Public infrastructure David Patterson, one of the guests of the Kaieteur Radio’s weekly programme, ‘The Political Show’, said on Wednesday night that the CJIA does not have a number of key documents to give to the Auditor General as it regards to the airport’s project.

Patterson said that the Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, and his Audit Office, had asked to audit the entire construction work done by the contractor, China Harbour and Engineering Company Limited (CHEC).

The minister said that he had told Sharma that they were quite “pleased” with him wanting to audit the airport and positively answered “yes”.

However, the audit was stalled due to the fact that they are no documents available to say how CHEC obtained the contract.

The minister was being questioned on what is one of the country’s biggest infrastructural project at the moment.

He said that from checks, there is no evidence that a tendering process was followed.

He emphasized that in order for the Auditor General to carry out an auditing process for the integrity of the project, there are questions that need to be answered and so far there has been no answer to these questions or documents to work with.

Patterson stressed that in order for a contract to be granted there are legal procedures that must be followed such as a tendering process. This process will have various contractors placing bids, and then the best contractor would be selected.

According to the official, after the company or contractor would have been selected, the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) would approve.

For the CJIA project, there is no evidence to indicate that these processes were followed by the People Progressive Party/Civic (PPPC) which was in power when the project was secretly signed in Jamaica back in 2011, days before elections and when former president

Bharrat Jagdeo was constitutionally due to end his two terms.

Patterson also defended his reasons for continuing with CHEC, the Chinese contractor, when his government, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (AFC/APNU) came to office in 2015.

The coalition has been taking a beating on the project for what is now being described as a renovation.

Patterson insisted that that fault was the Opposition’s.

In fact, the PPP/C, under Jagdeo, had done no feasibility studies, and as a result of this, the contractor had encountered technical problems on the northern side of the runway.

One of the major problems they encountered was the difficulty to extend the airport’s runway.

The contractor ran into swamplands. Something they should have known had the necessary ground tests been conducted.
In order to do this and carry on with the entire project, extra money would have been needed.

He said that the former government had agreed with the contractor to split the extra cost in half because they both acknowledged errors in not carrying out a careful study of the area.

However, when his government came in to power it was found out that CHEC was already paid US$77M out of the US$150M.

A mere seven percent of the work had been completed.

With this information, the Cabinet decided that no more money will be spent beyond the US$150M.

The emphasis was on ensuring a longer runway was completed.

A decision was taken to adjust the designs of the terminal building and instead of a brand new one, the current structure was gutted and renovated.

A small arrival area was built also.

The entire project has been a major scandal, dragging on now for almost a decade.

Patterson said that the idea of totally abandoning the project and sacking the contractor could not be contemplated.

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