Former Minister accused of violating government’s tendering process

By Elesha George

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has accused the Dean Jonas, the former Minister of Agriculture and Barbuda Affairs of violating the policy that governs the tendering process for government contracts.

According to Browne, any contract which exceeds E.C $100,000 and is issued within the public sector, must firstly be approved by the Cabinet and a recommendation would then be made to the tenders board, which has the authority to determine if the contract goes to full or selective tendering or will be waivered.

He said on Saturday, January, 25th, “there were persistent violations “by the former minister that dated back to his employment as Chairman of the Transport Board.

Browne added that for several years, he has had to intervene on numerous occasions “to scuttle contracts that the Minister would have negotiated without first getting the approval of the Cabinet and the tenders board, in order to avoid any form of embarrassment for the government”.

Browne shared that the pair would have had “conflicts” as a result of numerous attempts by the Member of Parliament (MP) to violate those policies.

“There were consistent warnings”, Browne said, claiming to have cautioned the former Minister privately and in the presence of his colleagues, finally resolving that “it was like speaking to a brick wall”.

As tensions heighten between these two politicians, Browne, who said he still considers Jonas to be a comrade and friend, shared that he has launched an inquiry into the former minister’s latest contract.

“I have asked the Attorney General to look at his actions in that particular transaction that took place a week ago, to determine whether or not there is any illegality.”

If the inquiry does present any wrong doing, Browne said the MP will have “no chance of returning as a minister” and will have to “suffer the consequences because law enforcement will get involved”.

The Member of Parliament (MP) has denied the allegations, calling it untrue and a bogus story meant as a distraction.