Report on Light Bulb Project Tabled in the House


Minister of Energy, Mining and Telecommunications, Clive Mullings on (January 15), tabled the report of the Auditor General on the Jamaica/Cuba light bulb project, in the House of Representatives.
The Government had asked Auditor General, Adrian Strachan, to conduct an audit of all expenditure incurred in respect to the Light Bulb Distribution Project, under which some four million fluorescent bulbs were to be provided.
The project originated through the generosity of the Government of Cuba, which undertook to provide Jamaica with four million fluorescent bulbs free of cost. A condition of the gift stipulated by the Cuban government was that the bulbs must be provided to householders at all income levels free of cost. Mr. Mullings had informed the House on October 23 that more than $114 million had been paid out for the implementation of the project, through the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica. Of the total amount, he said, $85.6 million was paid to a company called Universal Management and Development Company Limited for various services purported to be connected with the implementation of the project.
In addition, the Minister said $3.3 million was paid to another company called Caribbean Communications and Media Network Limited.
Mr. Mullings said that subsequent to these payments being made, additional invoices totalling more than $162 million were submitted and these invoices, if paid, would bring the total expenditure, not including expenses financed through Members of Parliament from the Social and Economic Support Programme (SESP), to $276.5 million.
In the report tabled, Mr. Strachan noted that there is an “apparent shortage of 167,380 bulbs; computer equipment costing $850,500 is to be accounted for; there is an apparent overpayment of $2.16 million for management/professional fees and there is an outstanding advance of $2.3 million”.
Former Minister of State in the then Ministry of Industry, Technology, Energy and Commerce, Kern Spencer, who had responsibility for the project, requested yesterday that the House give him the opportunity to address the issue in a statement, at a later date.
The Cuban Light Bulb Project is also the subject of an investigation by the Fraud Squad and the Contractor General.

JIS Social