UTECH and JIM Stand-Off

The Management of the University of the Technology, UTECH, and one of its subsidiaries, the Jamaica Institute of Management, JIM/UTECH, are in a stand off this afternoon over millions of dollars that have gone missing from JIM’s accounts.

The fallout has resulted in a mediator being appointed to resolve the dispute between both parties.

JIM and UTECH entered into a partnership in 2009 which resulted in UTECH assuming control of the Hope Road-based institution.

Six years later, that takeover is yet to be completed and no financial audit has been conducted despite a recommendation in 2014 by the Public Accountability Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Finance, for such an exercise to be done.

The absence of the audit, alongside a payment of more than 1-hundred-million-dollars towards JIM’s debts and capital expenditure have left several persons, including one of UTECH’s attorneys, Gavin Goffe, questioning whether the partnership was a bail out.

Despite the arrangement, JIM evicted UTECH from its property at 47 Hope Road last month, claiming that UTECH had allowed the building to be rundown.

The arrangement between JIM and UTECH has been raising eyebrows ever since the take-over was recommended by former UTECH President, Professor Errol Morrison, back in 2008.

In 2009, UTECH officially incorporated the institution, despite JIM’s assets were yet to be transferred to its books.

When UTECH’s management made efforts to have the entity reflected on its accounts, two of the country’s leading auditing firms, KPMG, and Price Waterhouse Coopers, declined to incorporate the property into UTECH’s assets.

In 2014, the Finance Ministry blasted UTECH about the process it had used to assume control of JIM.

Nationwide News has obtained a copy of an investigative report conducted by the Public Accountability Inspectorate, on UTECH.

The report raises concerns that UTECH decided to pay an advance of almost $42-million, excluding capital expenditure, to incorporate JIM, without the guidance of any audited financial statements.

JIM, as an entity, was valued at $53-million.

But UTECH also agreed to pay all the institution’s outstanding debts and committed to bearing the responsibility for the redundancy of JIM staff.

It also agreed that any profit made would be re-invested into JIM.

Since the start of the arrangement, UTECH has ploughed close to $100-million into JIM, covering various operating and other expenses.

A former Executive Director of JIM and President Emeritus of UTECH, Dr. Alfred Sangster, says the partnership between the entities was well intentioned.

But in July last year, JIM’s lawyers wrote to UTECH, advising that it wants to bring all arrangements to an end with immediate effect.

This, despite a clause in the agreement between the entities which says the relationship can only be terminated after a 5-year notice.

Nationwide News has obtained a copy of the agreement. JIM’s lawyers at Buddington and Company have called the partnership a ‘failure.’

Nationwide sources are blaming UTECH for the millions of dollars that have gone missing from JIM’s accounts.

The Interim President at UTECH, Professor Colin Gyles says those allegations are being tested.

Meanwhile, Professor Gyles says he’s unable to say whether the UTECH bailed out JIM.

He says after almost seven years, UTECH is yet to ascertain how much money has been spent covering JIM’s debts and capital expenditure.

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Jevon is a Reporter/Producer/Presenter with NNN. He holds a BA in Mass Communication (Journalism: emphasis) from Northern Caribbean University (NCU).