During a meeting of the parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), CMU Project Manager Elaine Hayden challenged the accuracy of a statement in the Auditor General’s Department report.
The auditor general reported that on April 13, 2018, the CMU paid the full cost of US$621,132 to Business Supply Source (BSS) or Logistics Company 1, for sandwich panels and angle irons.
It also stated that on June 6, 2018, CMU paid another US$368,303 to BSS for high beams, steel, and other assembly materials
But according to Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis, the CMU had not previously included high beams, steel, iron, and other assembly parts required for the construction of a three-story construction block at the Palisadoes-based institution.
However, at a PAC meeting reviewing malpractices at the CMU, Hayden said the auditor general’s claim was not correct, she said “the engineering workshop was a three-story building and the water table was considered to be higher, so the engineer revised the size of the steel beams, so we, in fact, got two sets of steel beams. It was not overlooked initially. It was a revision of the size of the steel beams and so we purchased an additional set of steel beams.”
She also complained that the Auditor General Department did not interview her, as she is Project Manager for the institution.
But according to the Auditor General, her audit began in January 2019 and was completed in mid-November 2019 with two iterations to her report and so, Hayden had ample opportunity to provide a response and dispute anything that was in the report adding that it was the first time she was hearing the complaints.
Monroe Ellis said, “I don’t think it is right that I sit here having a debate with Ms Hayden or anybody else for that matter about the veracity of the information in the report without being provided an opportunity to put together a response.”
The report also indicated that BSS which submitted the lowest quote, in terms of bids, had attached the quotes of the other bidders with its submissions. The auditor general said that no evidence was found to support claims that BSS was authorized to submit bids on the behalf of four other bidders.
This forced PAC member Everald Warmington to quiz Hayden about the matter and she said she did not “give Logistics Company 1 (or BSS) the bids. They provided the bids for the other bidders because we requested them to demonstrate that they were, in fact, a sourcing company.”
More details to come as investigation and review of CMU finances continues.