The Office of the Auditor General has cited a number of “procedural issues and irregularities” in how the Myron Walwyn-led Ministry of Education executed the project to construct a 1,562-f00t long perimeter wall around Elmore Stoutt High School.
One major issue the auditor general highlighted in her report on the near-million dollar project was the fact that Walwyn’s ministry did not comply with government’s Public Finance Regulation.
The policy says, whenever construction works are to be conducted but there was no tendering process, government agencies are to obtain a list of pre-qualified contractors from the finance ministry.
“There was, however, no consultation with the Ministry of Finance’s Project Management Unit (or the Public Works Department) on the selection and eligibility of contractors,” the auditor general said in her report of the project, which had a cost overrun of more than $157,000.
The auditor general went on to report that “the contractors used [for the project] were selected by the Minister of Education”.
The report further noted a statement from the education ministry’s assistant secretary, who said “the contracts and work orders sections and amounts [for the wall project] were assigned to individuals based only on the instructions received from the minister”.
In a response made public this week, Walwyn said it is not common practice to go through the Public Works Department or the finance ministry for a list of contractors.
“Contractors are chosen based on previous work relations with the [education] ministry or at the sitting minister’s discretion,” Walwyn said.
The minister this week described the auditor general’s report as unbalanced and ‘lacking’.
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