A forensic audit of the operations of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) is to begin soon.
This was disclosed by Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. Omar Davies, at a press briefing Wednesday (January 11) at the Ministry, Maxfield Avenue, Kingston.
Dr. Davies said an audit, which had been requested under the former administration, was not started.
“One of my first questions on entering the Ministry was to ask for a progress report on the forensic audit. The reality is that nothing had happened, so the Permanent Secretary has begun the process,” he explained.
He said he expected the audit to address all the issues, and the auditors will be able to identify whether the information they are seeking, which should be at the Ministry, is available.
“I am not doing the audit myself, and we welcome the notion to have a forensic audit,” Dr. Davies stated.
Former Prime Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, had announced on December 3, 2011 that, in the light of the importance of JDIP to national development, a forensic audit would be undertaken following a report from the Auditor General on the operation of the programme.
JDIP represents a major undertaking to significantly improve the island’s road network, enhance the quality of life of citizens and stimulate economic development.
Funding has been provided by the Government of China, through their Export Import (EXIM) Bank. The partnership has made available US$400 million (approximately J$36 billion) for improvements to roads, main and parochial, and other physical infrastructure, including bridges.
Dr. Davies also announced that Government representatives met with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, His Excellency Zheng Qingdian, on Saturday, January 7, to discuss the Administration’s desire to make changes to the structure and implementation of JDIP.
"It was a good meeting, but we have not signed off on the modification. Work is continuing, but I have asked for several in depth reports on aspects of the JDIP. I will be making a formal presentation to the Cabinet on the 18th of January and a submission to Parliament shortly thereafter," he reported.
Dr. Davies also encouraged the staff of the Ministry to be professional in their undertakings.
"It is imperative that in all of our activities there is transparency. I have said this not because it is an explicit policy of the new administration, but also all in Jamaica would have realised that members of the public are no longer willing to be told that this is a higher level problem which can't be explained to you," he said.
"There are going to be questions asked and rightly so, (and) in any decision made we will be in a position to explain how that decision came about," the Transport Minister added.
He also noted that several government agencies were behind, in terms of the publication of their annual audited accounts.
"We are going to do a survey and quickly establish and table in Parliament a timetable for bringing everyone up to scratch," he declared.