Jamaica (Jamaica Observer) – Prime Minister Andrew Holness last night rejected the Integrity Commission’s suggestion of conflict of interest on his part in the awarding of contracts to a company owned by a friend of his, 14 years ago when he was education minister, and said he will do all in his power “to ensure that the truth is known”.
Holness was responding to the commission’s report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday referring him to the director of corruption prosecution for “consideration with respect to breaches of the Contractor General Act” in relation to contracts awarded to Westcon Construction Limited between February 2007 and November 2009.
The commission has also referred the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Social Development Commission (SDC) to the director of corruption prosecution in the same matter, pointing out that the NWA awarded 34 contracts to Westcon, while the SDC awarded two contracts to the company.
In its report, the Integrity Commission said its director of investigation had probed allegations that contracts had been awarded to Westcon and that there is a connection and/or relationship between Holness and the proprietors, Robert Garvin and Donovan Simpson.
According to the commission, the investigation sought to ascertain, inter alia, (a) the nature and particulars of Government contracts that were awarded to Westcon Construction during the relevant period; (b) the nature and extent of the relationship between Holness and the directors of Westcon; (c) the extent of the involvement, if any, of Holness in the award of Government contracts to Westcon; (d) whether the circumstances surrounding the award of contracts and/or the process(es) utilised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI), the NWA, and the SDC was devoid of irregularity and impropriety and was fair and transparent.
The commission said it found that a total of 10 contracts were awarded by the Ministry of Education to Westcon during the period February 14, 2007 and November 10, 2009.