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Osha chairman resigns
Amid controversy at the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (Osha), chairman Dr Carol Bhagan-Khan has tendered her resignation effective September 30. The authority is awaiting communication from line minister Errol Mc Leod on the appointments of a new chairman and deputy chairman.
Bhagan-Khan’s resignation comes days before the contract of $65,000-a-month administrative consultant Prof Anthony Joseph comes to an end on October 15. A copy of the contract obtained by Sunday Guardian showed Bhagan-Khan had approved Joseph to be hired as a administrative consultant. However, correspondence referred to his job title as the chief executive director of Osha.
According to the approved organisational chart, such a position does not exist. Several attempts by Sunday Guardian to get answers as to who was responsible for the change in Joseph’s job title failed. Not even Bhagan-Khan or Mc Leod could shed light on the controversial issue when contacted.
Even with Bhagan-Khan gone, plans are afoot to have a new contract drafted. Sources say a consultancy proposal has been submitted for Compliance Assistance. The aim of the proposal is to ensure that small businesses with 25 employees and under are compliant with the rules and regulations of Osha. The intended contract has not been advertised.
Checks revealed the project falls under the Public Sector Investment Programme for the period 2013 to 2014. Without the appointment of a chairman or deputy chairman, no decisions can be made.
However, under the Central Tenders Board (CTB) regulations for consultancy contracts, the permanent secretary has the authority to approve contracts up to a limit of $500,000. According to the CTB regulations, the consultants must be pre-qualified and possess a tax clearance certificate and a clearance certificate issued under the Income Tax Act and the Value Added Tax Act from the Board of Inland Revenue.
Investigations revealed that Joseph did not submit those documents when the contract was awarded to him as administrative consultant. One key deliverable of Joseph’s contract as administrative consultant was to recruit the executive director of the agency. One year later, the position remains vacant.
In addition, the agency is now shut down because of deplorable working conditions and key staff, including the finance and human resources manager, legal counsel, senior inspectors, have resigned.
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