Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019
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Former minister mum on NSA contract award

Former National Sports Authority (NSA) Chairman LeRoy Archer said yesterday that he objected to the NSA awarding a three-year $1.4 million contract to a company that the auditor general has found received payment for “services that were never performed”.

“I objected to that contract,” Archer said when contacted. 

“The person who should respond is [former] Minister [Danny] Johnson.”

Archer, however, did not provide details on why he objected to the contract.

Archer served as NSA chairman from February 2012 to June 2016.

When contacted yesterday, former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Danny Johnson declined to comment.

“I’m out of public life,” Johnson said.

Called later in the day, Johnson again told The Guardian, “I have no comment.”

The Nassau Guardian reached out to the company in question for comment, but an employee who answered the phone hung up after The Guardian mentioned the contract with the NSA.

The Guardian called the company back, in the event that the disconnection was accidental.

The employee said it was not and noted that it was “inappropriate” for the company to be mentioned by the paper.

In his audit report of the NSA for the period July 2011 to December 2017, Auditor General Terrance Bastian found, among other things, that contracts issued by the NSA “lacked formalized process and transparency”.

He referred to the companies as Company A, B, C, etc.

Company A, the one in question, entered into a consultancy agreement with the NSA on May 22, 2015 for a three-year period ending August 22, 2018 at a “fixed fee of $40,000 per month and payable in quarterly installments”, the auditor general wrote.

“The Ministry of Finance made direct payments to the company totaling $467,907.51,” the auditor general wrote.

“We further noted that the contract, both in terms of specifications and conditions, had shortcomings as all of the deliverables were never completed as shown in annex 1.

“We noted that the NSA board made recommendation to cancel the company’s service contract in a letter dated May 22, 2017.

“However, the company at this point had already received a total of $1,191,579.91 for services that were never performed.

“We further noted that there was little information on the company and as a result, it made it difficult to assess contract management (post award) as an appropriate file was not maintained.

“The documents that were provided included the contract and invoices from the company. There was no information to show how this company was chosen.”

The auditor general said the procurement process “lacked levels of delegation of authority and as a result the activities under the contract may have not been properly monitored to ensure that deliverables were fulfilled before payments were given”.

He recommended that the NSA establish a contract committee with delegation control by using financial thresholds for levels of approvals.

As for the deliverables, the auditor general identified 10 items that Company A was charged with performing but never did.

These include: Creating a website for the NSA that would be used as an information and advertising platform; submitting a business plan that details potential areas of growth for the venue; providing guidance in the management of all aspects of the venue; conducting an operational and financial review of existing operations of the venue; and advising the NSA on the development of original sports and entertainment content consistent with the client’s tourism marketing goal, among other deliverables.

Promote

Former Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday that the company was contracted to organize events at the stadium to get more use out of the venue.

However, he noted that the Ministry of Finance had little involvement with the company and its contract with NSA.

“Their idea was they would help to promote The Bahamas as the destination for sports tourism and other events to get some more use out of the stadium,” he said.

“They would have come through the ministry, and they would have gotten the contract, and I guess the relationship between either them and the NSA or the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and they would govern their deliverables and all that.”

Halkitis added, “The day-to-day management of it and the day-to-day interaction of it would be between, if it’s a contract between them and the NSA, it would be between them and the NSA in terms of, ‘This is what you’re supposed to do. Such and such has been done. Here’s the payment.’

“Our involvement would be…once the concept has agreed, the idea has been agreed that this is something we want to do, we want to enter into this contract, then they would ask for money to fund it.”

Asked specifically about the direct payments from the ministry totaling nearly half a million dollars, Halkitis said, “That’s not unusual. If you have a contractual arrangement, and if for any reason the agency doesn’t have the money, they might come to the ministry for direct payments.”

Rachel Knowles

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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