Subject: The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation has baffled Accountants with its selection of Catsan & Chipman to perform an “Operation Audit and a full assessment of a Mortgage Processing Software Solution of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation.
Via letter of invitation dated October 20th 2009 the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) sent out Request For Proposal (RFP) to Accounting Firms to perform the works in an Open Bid Process (that is, all firms submitting bids were invited to attend a meeting for the opening of the quotes in an attempt to make the whole process transparent). The invite disclosed that time was of the essence and proposal should be submitted no later than October 30th 2009. BMC reserved the right to reject any or all proposals.
The following Bids were received:
1. Catsan & Chipman Limited $152,000:00
2. Ernst & Young $130,000:00
3. KPMG $ 87,000:00
4. Accounting Outsource Services $ 74,000:00 to $84,000:00
5. Deloitte $ 80,000:00
6. FT Consultants $ 60,000:00 to $70,000:00
7. Baker Tilly $ 57,500:00
BMC via letter dated February 22nd 2010 inform six of the above Firms that the project was awarded to Catsan & Chipman Limited the highest bidder headed by Reece Chipman, the unsuccessful FNM Candidate in The St. Thomas Moore Constituency in the 2007 General Elections. Reece Chipman is also the President of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA). Mr. Chipman recently drew attention to himself (among Accountants) when he moved his office next to BICA’s office in an apparent cost-sharing arrangement.
Kenyatta Gibson MP is Chairman of BMC, former FNM candidate for Bain & Grants Town Constituency in the 2007 General Elections David Jordain is the Deputy Chairman.
While the details of the award sum were not disclosed in the letter of February 22nd , one would logically assume that the contract sum was $152,000:00. That being the case, it begs the following question: Why were the Bids of the other well established and reputed accounting Firms rejected even though the bids submitted were substantially lower than the submission of Catsan and Chipman, a relatively new firm?
The award of this contract is a scandalous abuse of the Public Purse. Further, it is a slap in the face of and an insult to the principle of meritocracy; it is also a clear case of Political Patronage, cronyism, and a grave injustice against persons and institutions not connected to the FNM elite. Additionally, it comes at a time when the Mortgage Corporation of the Bahamas is severely fiscally challenged, the budgetary deficit continues to grow, the National Debt is just under a record four Billion Dollars, and the Government is struggling to deliver the necessary and requisite public goods and services that provide for the basic essentials items of food and water for Bahamians.
I am obliged to point out that the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation falls within the Ministerial Portfolio of Minister Kenneth Russell who has deliberately or otherwise fallen asleep at the wheel and has allowed public funds to be so shamefully fretted away on the altar of political expediency. More direct and hard evidence of wastage of scarce public resources to the benefit of FNM supporters will be presented to the House of Assembly tomorrow.