Jamaica | Mar 2, 2023

Director of Investigations clears Bethlehem Moravian College in procurement probe

/ Our Today

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However, administration found wanting

Bethlehem Moravian College.

Durrant Pate/Contributor

The Integrity Commission’s Director of Investigations (DOI) has cleared the administration of Bethlehem Moravian College in Malvern, St Elizabeth, regarding impropriety in the award of certain contracts.

The contracts in question relate to Décor Spaces, Atlas Security Services and Gayrol Smith for the provision of transportation services. In a 38-page report, which was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Office of the Contractor General, which has since been subsumed by the Integrity Commission, said it commenced its investigation on November 23, 2016 following the receipt of an anonymous letter of complaint on November 14 and 17, 2016.

The referenced letters, outlined the following allegations:

a) That there was irregularity and/or impropriety in relation to the engagement of “Gerald Smith” for the provision of transportation services for BMC students;

b) That there was irregularity and/or impropriety in relation to the engagement of Atlas Security by the BMC for the provision of security services;  

c) That Bethlehem Moravian College re-engaged Décor Spaces after the Ministry of Education instructed that they should ‘cease all dealings’ with Décor Spaces in respect of the implementation of the Library Project; and

d) That the Bethlehem Moravian College awarded a contract to Décor Spaces in the amount of J$10-million


Regarding allegations surrounding irregularity in the award of contract to Atlas Protection Limited, the DOI, Kevon A. Stephenson, found that a valid contract was entered into by BMC with Atlas Protection Limited on January 11, 2016 for the provision of security services for a period of two years in the amount of $9.66 million.

Kevon Stephenson, director of investigations.

Stephenson concluded: “There is no evidence to support that there was irregularity and/or impropriety in the award contract to Atlas Protection Limited for the provision of Security Services at the Bethlehem Moravian College.”

Behtlehem’s Evaluation Committee recommended that the contract for the provision of security services be awarded to Atlas Protection based on its analysis of the two companies that bidded for the contract, Atlas Protection and Guardsman Limited. Based on the Evaluation Report, “Atlas Protection was selected due to the fact that they quoted on all the required items whereas Guardsman did not”.

Turning to the allegation of irregularity in the utilisation of the direct contracting methodology for the award of the contract to Décor Spaces for the provision of consulting services, the DOI concluded that the referenced contract was in the amount of $1.68 million and not $10 million as alleged. The DOI found that “the utilisation of the direct contracting procurement methodology under urgent circumstances for the award of contract to Décor Spaces, was in keeping with the provision of the Government of Jamaica Public Procurement Procedures Handbook (GPPPH).”

This conclusion is premised on Section 1.1.4 (f) of the GPPPH, which describes extreme urgency as “…events unforeseen by the Procuring Entity, the products or services could not be obtained in time be (sic) means of …Local Competitive Bidding or Limited Tender procedures…”

According to the report, “in arriving at the foregoing conclusion, the DOI considered that the inadequacy and deterioration of the library facilities at the BMC would have occurred overtime, therefore the need for upgrade and repairs were foreseeable. Notwithstanding, the reality of the entity losing its University Council of Jamaica accreditation may not have been immediately obvious”.

The DOI acknowledged that Bethlehem is a degree granting institution and therefore it’s University Council of Jamaica accreditation is a fundamental component of its offering as an institution noting in this respect, the threat of Bethlehem losing its accreditation can be reasonably regarded as a sufficient basis to have utilised the Direct Contracting (under urgent circumstances) Procurement Methodology.

Irregularity in transportation process contract

The DOI found that “BMC having failed to obtain the required NCC Certificate from Gayrol Smith for the provision of transportation Services, beached Section 1.3.1 of the GPPPH and therefore the procurement process undertaken was irregular”.

Bethlehem Moravian College

The procurement methodology utilised was limited tendering, where only one of four bidders, Gayrol Smith, had submitted required documents of valid TCC & Insurance Letter. Smith offered the lower total price of $7,452,000 and on this basis was given the contract.


Regarding the contract for transportation services, Stephenson recommended “that the Principal and the Procurement Committee of the Bethlehem Moravian College ensure that potential government contractors possess and present the requisite documentation which qualifies them to participate in procurement opportunities offered by the BMC as prescribed by the GPPPH”.

This recommendation is premised on the breach of procurement rules observed in relation to the award of contract to Smith by Yvonne Clarke, former Principal, on behalf of the Bethlehem Moravian College, wherein the bidder did not provide an NCC Certificate at the time of bid submission.

He also recommended that “BMC pays keen attention to procurement planning aspect of the procurement cycle especially having regard to the need for infrastructure upgrade and maintenance, thereby ensuring that there is sufficient time to procure services, works and/or goods consistent with Appendix 1 Volume II of the Government of Jamaica Handbook of Public Procurement Procedures”.

This recommendation is made to the procuring entity with a view to decreasing the perception of improper utilisation of the direct contracting procurement methodology, thus promoting enhanced transparency in the procurement process at the BMC.


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