More confusion in police used car import saga

More confusion in police used car import saga

AN official of the Ministry of Finance yesterday revealed that Obrien’s Car Sales Limited was in November 2017 granted a second moratorium for taxes on the controversial 66 vehicles being imported for the police, even while the company still owed $7.9 million on the first 30 vehicles which were imported last June.

The Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament was also yesterday told by Acting Financial Secretary Darlene Morrison that Obrien’s had gone directly to the finance minister in seeking the second waiver on the special consumption tax and general consumption tax, bypassing the Ministry of National Security with which it is contracted to deliver the vehicles.

The Ministry of Finance had initially rejected the request for a waiver from Obrien’s which was brought to its attention by the security ministry, and gave the company a deadline by which to deliver the vehicles, threatening consequences.

That second moratorium has now been nullified.

“This has been a messy affair. It has a bitter taste of ‘bandoolooism’…I’m hoping and praying that no other transaction goes on in this manner. This is where we are talking about the minister overstepping his boundary, and I will not take that back. Because if a request was made by the supplier straight to the minister and no communication made (to the ministry) and one was issued, and it was only because of public pressure why it was withdrawn, and the Ministry of National Security would have then accepted (liability),” Opposition Member of Parliament for Manchester North West Mikael Phillips stated.

Government Member of Parliament for St Catherine North East Leslie Campbell, however, cautioned that: “This is inflammatory; are we making a finding that there is corruption or that the minister has exceeded his authority? I think it is unfair (and) unwise to be going down that route.”

The $427-million car deal which the Government signed with Obrien’s last January has been mired in controversy since November when details of the souring of the contract came to public attention.


January 26th, 2018

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