Acting head of the Integrity Commission’s Corruption Prosecution Division, Dirk Harrison, says he stands by his report about the sale of Rooms on the Beach in Ocho Rios.
This, despite a statement from his bosses, the Commissioners of the Integrity Commission, which questions the credibility of the report.
Mr. Harrison’s comment comes as a rift between him and the Integrity Commission appears to be deepening.
Yesterday, the Commission, chaired by Justice Karl Harrison, said its Commissioners unanimously agreed that Dirk Harrison’s conclusions about the sale were doubtful.
They said an objective mind would raise serious questions.
When contacted by our news center yesterday afternoon, Dirk Harrison said he’d not comment on the criticism of his report, beyond saying that he stands by it.
The embattled former Contractor General told our news center that he’s avoiding getting into a public tit-for-tat concerning his report.
He declined to comment on any other issue.
In its statement, the Integrity Commission said Mr. Harrison objected to formal written responses from government officials to the findings of his report about the Rooms on the Beach sale, being tabled in Parliament.
The Commission says the former Contractor General made his objection known in writing.
The Commission says despite Mr. Harrison’s objection, it elected to table the responses from the Government officials in Parliament along with his report, in the spirit of fairness and transparency.
The Integrity Commission said it sought responses from the Government officials because its Commissioners unanimously agreed that Mr. Harrison’s conclusions were doubtful and would cause an objective mind to raise serious questions.
Mr. Harrison’s report had described the Urban Development Corporation, UDC’s sale of Rooms on the Beach for approximately US$6-milllion less than the maximum valuation price, as an insult to the people of Jamaica.
The report alleged that Investment Minister, Daryl Vaz, interfered in the negotiation. Minister Vaz has since rejected the allegation as false and disingenuous.
In a statement on Tuesday, Vaz argued that Jamaica will get value for money from the deal.
He argued that Mr. Harrison’s report failed to reflect that in arriving at the deal – the UDC considered that the project is expected to bring in half-a-billion US dollars in foreign direct investment.
It would also create over 7000 direct and indirect jobs.
Minister Vaz, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the UDC were invited by the Integrity Commission to provide responses to Mr. Harrison’s findings. The report was compiled by Mr. Harrison when he was the Contractor General.