NDIA sole-sourced 75% of projects on current budget – audit

A review of projects awarded by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority has shown that 75% of the works on the current budget are sole-sourced.

This was made public through the report of a Forensic Audit into the operations of the NDIA conducted by Nigel Hinds Financial Services.

The audit noted that members of the Civil Engineering Department expressed serious concerns with the Procurement Process during interviews.

One such concern is the fact that more than 75% of the works on the current budget are sole-sourced with quotations being requested from other contractors at a higher price for works already executed.

The report further highlights other concerns such as the fact that a three-quotation procedure is used for projects up to 15 million although it has a limit of $800,000 with a lot of works being “sole-sourced to just under 15 million to avoid cabinet scrutiny.”

“Most contract documents sent to tender board for approval are already completed but the submission to tender board gives the false impression that the works are yet to commence. All evaluation of tenders for capital projects are done in house and then given to the appointed evaluators to sign, documents can be removed from tenders or prices changed to cause a particular contractor to win before given to evaluators for review, the Mechanical Department prior to this year did all their procurement with a few contractors getting all the jobs through sole-sourcing and many other works for the Hope Canal were paid through NDIA current budget,” the report states.

It was highlighted that for January to July 2015, a review of the Projects awarded showed that out of $647,338,367, 59% were awarded by Sole-Sourcing, 17% by Quotations and 24% by Public Tendering. It was also noted that most of the contracts awarded by Sole-Sourcing went to Water Users Associations.

“NDIA overspends over 200 million every year,” the report states adding that the cost for completed projects is being placed in the roll over capital budget to be paid for in ensuing year/s.

One such project is the Construction of a Timber Bridge at Hyde Park, Mahaicony, which though completed was submitted in the 2015 budget as a new project.  $1,968,000 was budgeted in the 2015 budget for this project. Variation works for supervision of the Buxton Sluice was also placed as a new project for the 2015 Budget as Design of Boulder slope and sea defence components for the Buxton Sluice at a value $3,750,000.

Also pegged at just under $15M to avoid cabinet scrutiny is monies which are regularly transferred to the Mahaica, Mahaicony, Abary- Agricultural Development Authority (MMA-ADA).

The report list transfers of to the MMA-ADA at $14,963,670 on December 31,2014 and  $14,236,330, December 24,2014

According to the report there were several memos between the Senior Section Engineer, Dave Hicks and the CEO  Lionel Wordsworth, George Jarvis and the Minister of Agriculture which provide support that these matters were brought to the attention of management several times.

“It would appear little or no action was taken to address the concerns. In addition, members of staff are of the firm opinion that Mr. Lionel Wordsworth micromanages each department..,” the report states.

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