NRA spending not properly controlled

| 01/03/2020 | 53 Comments
Cayman News Service
Acting NRA MD Edward Howard, Premier Alden McLaughlin, Infrastructure Minister Joey Hew and other NRA representatives

(CNS): The National Roads Authority has been spending large sums of cash without following the proper tendering process, the Office of the Auditor General found in a review of the authority’s financial reports. The NRA has spent public cash on marl, crosswalks and other equipment without putting the pricey contracts out to competitive bids. The OAG said the NRA took some $7.5 million last year from the public purse but also had to deal with a transfer of more than CI$100,000 from the planning ministry.

In her report Auditor General Sue Winspear pointed out the need for all public entities to go through a competitive bidding processes when they acquire goods or services of significant amount, but the NRA had failed to do that on a number of occasions. Winspear said the authority purchased almost half a million dollars of marl and spent $250,000 on two dump trucks without a tender or obtaining any quotes from suppliers and offering no justification for the single source acquisitions.

In the NRA response to her concerns, the authority accepted that it should have tendered the purchase of two dump trucks but insisted it believed it had achieved value for money without this process.

The authority also argued that it cannot tender for marl. It said that since 2007, the authority has negotiated a fixed rate with all local quarries for marl used by government. Given the quantities and urgency with which the fill is often required, this across the board deal alleviates the delays and complexities of tenders, the NRA said, especially as more often that not no single quarry is able to meet the amounts it needs. But the authority said it would discuss the issues over marl with the procurement committee.

Last year the auditor general made a point in its ’emphasis of matters’ that goes along with each entity’s audit that the director had been fired for the misuse of public resources, justifying her concerns about the failings with the authority’s management controls as well as its spending.

She also said there was no sign of the necessary bill that needs to be passed in the Legislative Assembly to legalise a transfer of more than CI$112,000 from the planning ministry to the NRA for an as yet undisclosed exceptional circumstances.

See the report, OAG report – Financial Reporting of the Cayman Islands Government, February 2020, in the CNS Library


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Category: Government Finance, Government oversight, Politics

Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    well at least they have improved the traffic situation…..oopps, nevermind.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No one will ever get fired or held accountable here for what I hope is obvious reasons.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Attorney General is the legal arm in the Cayman islands! Yet its selective prosecution and arrest all year round! Where are the lawsuits Caymanians? if this was the USA he would have been fired a long time ago and the government would have had to fork out millions for this clear abuse. Yet the people of the Cayman islands seem to never see that unless the Attorney General and the Prosecutors office do nothing then nothing gets done. Ministers cant arrest and prosecute people. Ya’ll really are an easy press and its a shame because Caymanians are generally very lovely people, just a bit too timid.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Say it ain’t so!!!

  5. Blacklisted says:

    In other news, grass is green, the sky is blue and water is wet.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone really surprised?

    the NRA has been used for decades to pay the kickbacks to these useless politicians and their henchmen.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    No surprise then that another unaccountable department is heavily-cross-pollinated with intermingled Dart cash as part of the “NRA deal”. Wherever we dare to look…

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  8. Anonymous says:

    #SackJoeyHew!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Joey will probably use Julie’s excuse when she paved private driveways with public money for her voters: There’s nothing in the NRA Law that says she can’t spend the money like that.

    And the Attorney General at the time bought that excuse

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  10. Anonymous says:

    2007 agreement???? Come on, no one revisitied this in 13 years? Really need to look at who gets the biggest payouts on this one. And whose dump trucks have the contract to move it.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Surprise Surprise….

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  12. Anonymous says:

    It would be difficult to keep track of money without any road engineers or foremen overseeing daily work. They routinely curb roads before leveling loose, flexible substrate, or applying temperature flexible tarmac, often laying and stripping three times before they get it right. We need an inquest into this entire gov’t, but concurrently need to recruit a proper NRA MD, accredited road building engineers, and work supervisors from the real world.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Still just an acting MD after how many months? No Annual Report for the NRA Fund which receives over $10mln a year from fuel duties. $1mln in equipment amortized to zero asset value, while still rolling around in the active vehicles fleet. No bike lanes budgeted and planned since 2015…

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Does it come as a surprise to anybody that this government has not yet passed the bill that is needed to legalise the transfer of funds from the planning ministry to the NRA? Also, if the transfer of funds represents something that was not done legally who authorized the transfer and who was held responsible for not following the established laws &/or regulations?

    The public (i.e. the taxpayers) should be made aware of the reason for the transfer of funds from the planning ministry as there is nothing that the NRA could be doing within their remit that would justify holding back that information.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Is this any surprise? Check out any NRA job site and see how many staff are on site – a few actually working and the rest just watching. That seems to be the usual practice.

    Last week Saturday (Feb 21) the “link” by Blue Cilantro was closed for repainting of the pedestrian cross walk. NRA had 7 men on site, – three were painting and 4 were watching them – literally. I bet ALL were getting overtime pay!!

    Similar situation occurred when NRA was rebuilding the roundabout behind Ritz Carlton – most workers were idling while a few worked.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for our ‘world class’ civil service.
    any comment franzy???

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  17. Anonymous says:

    The NRA, in there response, is saying that the have independently decided that the tendering process does not apply to them. That type of response should have been accompanied by a resignation letter from the head of the NRA.

    There will be government departments &/or authorities that believe that the tendering policy should not apply in some circumstances. This however should be agreed with the appropriate authority and the applicable laws &/or regulations changed to allow for limited deviations from the policy.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Why follow the law when you can always come up with a good reason not to?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    As Joey would say, this is the first time I’m hearing about this…

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Another Authority run amuck with pubic monies. Anyone surprised by where the money went? Hopefully the Auditor General’s report will detail which companies were awarded these cushy contracts. Maybe the usual suspect friends & family club will be implicated if the paper trail isn’t blurred?

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  21. Anonymous says:

    nra is a money pit but must be kept busy…hence the the silly road extensions that only create m0re traffic issues.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    This is criminal. Who and how will it be tried? If this was the private sector people would be in Northwood by now

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Poor Joey makes another mess of things

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    • #JOEMUSTGO2021 says:

      #JOEMUSTGO2021 Joey Hew is delusional and quick to lie to the public to aid his personal ambitions and agenda look at the fiasco at Smith’s Barcadere. He got caught in lies and thinks the public are stupid. He does not work for the Cayman people he acts as if he is the elected representative of the Jamaican Labor Party in Cayman politics. VOTE NO

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    • SMH says:

      Joey is as qualified for leadership as McKeeva there’s not a stitch of qualifications or ethics among to separate them. Politics is the only job they can get! SMH

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    • Anonymous says:

      Goes back way before Joey. Follow the trail.

  24. #JOEYWHO says:

    Minister Joey Hew is a joke. The Auditor General’s report speaks to another expensive mess and abuse of the rules. He is proving himself to be untrustworthy and reckless with public funds and the truth. He has bed. trained very well by his mentor Premier Alden McLaughlin neither can be trusted.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    This is all a sick joke. How can the AG find issues with the NRA like this and not see a conflict of interest when the head of planning owns the largest construction supply store on the island.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Chairman of the Central Planning Committee is who you’re referring too, that’s not the same as the Head of Department for the planning. For the record, we can thank the PPM for re-appointment the chair even after acknowledging the glaring conflict of interest.

    • Hancock says:

      please explain exactly where the conflict lies.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Not every application deserves to get approved. AL Thompson’s is one of the best and most profitable stores on the island selling construction goods and hardware. When ALT approves something, he has a high likelihood of directly profiting by purchases made at his store. This works as an incentive to approve the developments that should not be approved.

        As a specific example, Good Mood Food wanted to have a casual eco-friendly food festival vibe with gravel and no parking stops, but ALT and CPA demanded they concrete over everything and add parking stops. Their planning application was refused because there wasn’t enough concrete in it. And who sells the concrete?

        Just read the CPA minutes.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Hey Sue, what happened to the Steamroller that JuJu was pictured driving in the Brac?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The police do not seem to have made any attempt to rescue it or the millions in other equipment “lost” in the process, and so the poor thing had to be put out of its misery is my best bet.

      Seriously? When do things go beyond reports that say “tut tut”. When do we see actual accountability?

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    • Anonymous says:

      9.34, can’t touch JuJu , she is the Brac’s Mac.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Where do I make a warranty claim about my driveway? It is cracking and could use a touch up.

        • Anonymous says:

          Where do I make a claim about how crap our police are? There is a growing perception of corruption everywhere, and the people we pay to stop it from happening seem awfully quiet. I wish I could be comfortable with the assumption that their lack of action was because there was nothing improper afoot.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    “She also said there was no sign of the necessary bill that needs to be passed in the Legislative Assembly to legalise a transfer of more than CI$112,000 from the planning ministry to the NRA for an as yet undisclosed exceptional circumstances.” NRA should be held accountable for this as well as those who allowed this transfer to happen without approval.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    More corruption and “money in my buddy’s pocket” business tactics. When will it stop?

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  29. Anonymous says:

    The private sector could never operate the way the public sector is required to operate.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone in govt doing anything on the up and up anymore?

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  31. Say it like it is says:

    The same can be said for almost every government dept.Nobody abides by the rules for as always with Civil Servants, there is never any accountability. However on the plus side all these people are Caymanians enjoying the Caymanian way of doing business.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Vote No

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Given that they fall under the Ministry of “Planning” is rich!! No planning done by NRA or the Ministry.

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