Region Four REO blasts NDC chairpersons, overseers on procurement violations

REO Pauline Lucas addressing NDC Chairmen and Overseers during the meeting at the Region Four RDC Boardroom, Triumph, East Coast Demerara.

Region Four’s  Regional Executive Officer (REO), Pauline Lucas on Tuesday warned Overseers and Neighbourhood Dem-ocratic Council (NDC) Chairmen to follow the established standard procurement regulations when procuring goods and services.

According to a release from Region Four, the REO’s comments came after she requested to address the Overseers and Chairmen from the 15 NDCs during the monthly sitting of the Regional Accounting Committee (RAC) meeting.

The Region Four officer expressed grave concerns at the actions of several of the NDCs, noting that she will continue to send back documents requesting purchasing of certain items and or services.

“You can’t decide among yourself that you will have a job tendered for, but only inform the region on the morning that you are opening the tender or the day before, this is unacceptable and if you are advertising tenders we must see proof that the tender was advertised, we want to know what medium you used to advertise … whether its via newspapers, radio, Facebook, community bulletin or just flyers, whatever medium you use we must know, as you cannot come and tell us that you advertised and when we check it’s only your friends, relatives and or a selected few who knew about it,” REO Lucas was quoted as saying in the release.

The REO declared that as the Accounting Officer of Region Four she had no intentions of allowing anyone to compromise her integrity and will not participate in unethical and unprofessional conduct. Lucas added that there is a list of prequalified contractors which she has asked the Engineer to make available, whilst noting that contracts over a certain amount which are approved by the region have to be done in a certain way.

According to the Region Four statement, Lucas expressed dissatisfaction with the deliberate practice of NDCs which seek to engage contractors and or suppliers at the very last minute so that several of the overseers and contractors can do their ‘hanky-panky’.

She added that it was disturbing to know that several contractors are being called and asked to submit bids or told that they have won bids, when they never even bought bid documents or ventured to submit bids.

Cautioning the Overseers and Chairmen about several of the Quotations which she has seen, Lucas said that it’s evident that deliberate attempts are made to ensure that a particular supplier or contractor gets a job, as in most cases, the other two quotations are submitted by the same person.

“I can tell you that the quality of the quotation is ‘willy-nilly’ and I have said it before and will say it again that if you need help and assistance in understanding how procurement is done I will make my Procurement Officer available so that he can help you in this process. We have an established procurement department and they are equipped to provide guidance so as to ensure that you follow the right protocol as transparency is critically important,” the REO warned, according to the statement.

The REO added that it was time for the nonsense to stop and she will be taking appropriate actions against those who feel that they can manipulate the system.

Lucas and other REOs have come under intense grilling by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament over breaches of procurement rules.

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