Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, says the Andrew Holness-led administration has made ‘significant strides’ in improving transparency in the award of contracts by Municipal Corporations.
His comment comes amid a recommendation from the Office of the Contractor General that a criminal investigation be launched into the culpability of all Councillors of the St. Ann Municipal Corporation.
The OCG’s recommendation was made in its special report into allegations of corruption at the South East St. Ann Member of Parliament’s office and in the award of certain government contracts by the Corporation.
Mr. McKenzie is demanding that the government be credited for it’s efforts.
The Minister’s comments and the OCG report come at a time that the Prime Minister has announced an island-wide road patching, de-bushing and drain cleaning programme; valued at $630-million.
Mr. McKenzie notes that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has invited the OCG to oversee the project.
In the meantime, Minister McKenzie says he’s never facilitated the practice of ‘group payments’ noted by the OCG in it’s special report.
The OCG took issue with ‘group payments’ — which is the practice of using letters which authorize mass payments as a whole to a specified person.
A number of Municipal Corporations have been rocked by allegations that they misused State funds.
Councillors have also been accused of using their power to influence the award of contracts.