JSC recommends investigation …”PROBE GALICIA”

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The Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Land and Phys­i­cal In­fra­struc­ture has recommended that an investigation be launched into the procurement of the Super Fast Galicia and the involvement of attorney Nyree Alfonso in the matter.

The JSC com­plet­ed its work and sub­mit­ted its re­port to Par­lia­ment on Wednesday.

How­ev­er, the JSC, com­pris­ing Op­po­si­tion, In­de­pen­dent and Gov­ern­ment mem­bers, was split and two re­ports were laid in the Par­lia­ment – the sub­stan­tive re­port from the JSC and a mi­nor­i­ty re­port.

The re­port of the JSC in­quir­ing in­to the fer­ries, chaired by Stephen Creese, is over 300 pages long and con­tains over 60 rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing one for a foren­sic au­dit in­to the pro­cure­ment of the Su­per Fast Gali­cia.

But the Op­po­si­tion UNC said it be­lieves the com­mit­tee work was cut short and the two Op­po­si­tion mem­bers, Wade Mark and Rush­ton Paray, in their Mi­nor­i­ty Re­port, said they had tak­en note that “the en­tire pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dure for ves­sels to ser­vice the seabridge had been up­root­ed and moved to a place where it ap­pears pro­cure­ment is no longer sub­ject to even the Cen­tral Ten­ders Board Reg­u­la­tions.”

In a let­ter to the com­mit­tee’s sec­re­tary, Wade Mark raised a spe­cif­ic con­cern that the Moutett Re­port was to form part of the com­mit­tee’s re­port.

He added, “Mr Mout­tet’s Re­port in­cludes quite a lot of in­for­ma­tion the par­tic­u­lars of which have nev­er been dis­cussed by the com­mit­tee as a whole – in­stead some el­e­ments of the re­port were added over time based on a re­view by Par­lia­men­tary staff.”

Christian Moutett who was ap­point­ed by the Prime Min­is­ter to in­ves­ti­gate “the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the pro­cure­ment of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2 and the en­ter­ing in­to the char­ter par­ty agree­ments for these ves­sels”.

Mark said, “Most of Mr Mout­tet’s work re­lat­ed to the Su­per Fast Gali­cia was rather scat­ter­shot and did not in­volve the tak­ing of state­ments from most per­sons who had po­si­tions of au­thor­i­ty at the time of pro­cure­ment of the ves­sel.”

In the course of the in­quiry, Port Au­thor­i­ty of­fi­cial Leon Grant was sus­pend­ed and then act­ing GM Char­maine Lewis was dis­missed.

The JSC rec­om­mend­ed that “an in­ves­ti­ga­tion be con­duct­ed by the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties in­to the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the in­volve­ment of Ms Nyree Al­fon­so in the ten­der­ing ex­er­cise for the Su­per Fast Gali­cia as stat­ed at a pub­lic in­quiry of the com­mit­tee held on Sep­tem­ber 5, 2017, and we fur­ther rec­om­mend that a foren­sic au­dit be con­duct­ed in­to all the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the ten­der­ing ex­er­cise.”

On the pro­cure­ment of the Cabo Star and Ocean Flower 2, the com­mit­tee rec­om­mend­ed that the Port Au­thor­i­ty “fol­low the pro­cure­ment pro­ce­dures of the Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment and Dis­pos­al of Pub­lic Prop­er­ty Act, 2015, in the ex­e­cu­tion of its pro­ce­dures and that it de­vel­op a ves­sel pro­cure­ment man­u­al in which Char­ter Par­ty Agree­ments are manda­to­ry.”

In its mi­nor­i­ty re­port, the Op­po­si­tion mem­bers said they were “deeply con­cerned that there may have been re­tal­ia­to­ry ac­tion tak­en against per­sons who pro­vid­ed in­for­ma­tion to the com­mit­tee, i.e. sev­er­al mem­bers were sus­pend­ed and/or fired af­ter hav­ing giv­en tes­ti­mo­ny.”

They al­so ex­pressed con­cern that three per­sons, Chris­tine Sa­hadeo, Nyree Al­fon­so and Char­maine Lewis, were de­nied the op­por­tu­ni­ty to tes­ti­fy to speak to is­sues which were raised in pub­lic hear­ings against them.

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