What a waste!

Crab Hill police station among govt projects under investigation

Government has recently been threatening to tell-all on the Crab Hill police station fiasco.

However, in his latest report, Auditor General Leigh Trotman has revealed that the matter has been handed over to Solicitor General Jennifer Edwards, in an apparent attempt to recoup monies.

The Auditor General’s report specifically notes that the construction process for the St Lucy project had been plagued with problems, resulting in major delays and a near quadrupling of costs, which rose from an initial $1.4 million to $4 million.

Auditor General Leigh Trotman
Auditor General Leigh Trotman

“The project was brought to an end by the original contractor on two occasions and eventually had to be turned over to a new contractor for completion,” Trotman noted.

He also revealed, based on the assessment made by the Consulting Engineers who had investigated the project, that “the degree of faulty work was extensive” and there was “a poorly constructed foundation”.

“They also reported that regular onsite supervision was not carried out during the course of the work,” the Auditor General said, revealing that the matter had been referred by the Office of the Attorney General to the Solicitor General.

Today, neither the Solicitor General nor the Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite could not be reached for comment on the matter. When contacted, the original contractor Anderson Cherry, who is the managing director of Jose Y Jose Liquid and Solid Waste, said he preferred not to speak on the matter at this stage.

However, a senior Government official told Barbados TODAY that the Freundel Stuart administration was in possession of a more detailed report arising out of the Auditor General’s investigation.

This detailed report, the official said, had raised a number of red flags about the level of involvement by a certain former member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration in the matter.

However, the present Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration has not escaped the scrutiny of the Auditor General. His 209-page report also details a number of questionable transactions, which have occurred under            its watch.

For instance, audit tests have revealed that for the financial years 2007-2009 in a sample of 67 vehicles, 41 consigned to individuals, with a customs value of $485,233.39, were seen in the Customs computerized system as released without the payment of customs duty.

“This action would have resulted in a revenue loss of approximately $447,699 in taxes, and would have shown a weakness in the controls established by the Department to prevent such activity from occurring,” the Auditor          General said.

Approval was also granted for personnel of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA)  to participate in a Utilities Best Practice United Kingdom Study Tour from July 10 – 17, 2010.

“A company was paid a total of $31,500 for coordinating and facilitating the tour. Tickets valued at $10,708.03 were also purchased from a travel agency,” the Auditor General noted. However, he said up to the time of review, there was no evidence provided to show that the tour took place or that these funds were ever recovered.

Equally eye opening was the Auditor General’s report that goods ordered from a firm totaling $462,786.26 were paid for, but not delivered, with no due diligence conducted on the United States based firm.

The majority of goods ordered from another supplier in the amount of $351,086.59 were also paid for but not delivered, with the BWA now said to be pursuing legal action in a bid to get back the money.

In relation to the court system, a review of the warrants from various years showed that fines totaling $2,458,400 from 61 cases, remained outstanding.

The Auditor General also raised concern that in various courts, fines were imposed but the relevant warrants were not issued to the defendants.

The Immigration Department also came in for tough scrutiny.

Trotman pointed out that there were no facilities in place at the Bridgetown Port or Port St Charles Marina for monitoring the arrival and departure of yachts.

He also pointed out that from a sample of 250 applications examined, 30 per cent were granted work permits without requirements such as “the application being signed by the employer; cover letter being signed; police certificate from the applicant’s homeland; application being approved by the Minister; complete documentation (in case of a permit for one year)”.

Continued on: From the Auditor General’s Report.

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