Over $100M Spent by BIL on Various Infrastructure Projects

Posted By: Marty

Over $100M Spent by BIL on Various Infrastructure Projects - 02/06/21 11:48 AM

The House of Representatives met today in a regular session where several bills were tabled for a second reading. Before getting into those proposed pieces of legislation that include an amendment to the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act, there are new developments regarding Belize Infrastructure Limited. The special purpose vehicle established under the Barrow administration will wind down within the next six months, but that hasn’t stopped the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing from launching an investigation into its operations. Minister of Infrastructure Development Julius Espat shared details of that investigation this morning during the house meeting. Minister Espat revealed that up to a hundred million dollars were spent under BIL, which had direct access to the government’s Smart Stream system.

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development

“Madam Speaker, BIL was a vehicle used for the misappropriation of public monies without public scrutiny. Madam Speaker, what did we find? We found that over one hundred million dollars, over one hundred million dollars because we have not been able to fully identify and certify all the expenses up to date, but as far as we have seen, one hundred million dollars has been spent through BIL. Eighty percent of the contracts awarded through BIL were given to one specific contractor. That contractor, Madame Speaker, goes under the name I.E. Subsequent to renting the office then all of a sudden all the contracts, not only the contracts of construction but the design or the design-build or just the construction or maybe a partnership was awarded to the same company which she came from, without the necessary financial scrutiny that is needed. We found out that there is also access to Smart Stream that these two offices that are adjacent to each other have access to. Smart Stream, in my opinion, and maybe the Financial Secretary can assist us a little bit more, is detailed, confidential, financial, information that only the FOs should have access to or certain financial officers. It should not be left where a contractor has access to it.”

Minister Espat went on to reveal that all contracts issued by BIL are paused while the investigation continues.

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