OBA demands audit of contracts awarded to Premier’s adviser
A financial audit should be carried out after it was revealed a sole-sourced contract for Covid-19 services was given to a company owned by the Premier’s fintech adviser, the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) said the other night.
Cole Simons, the Leader of the Opposition, claimed that David Burt, the Premier, “consistently finds himself in conflicts of interest, without remorse or accountability”.
Mr Simons said Mr Burt had gone “from being the Premier, Minister of Tourism and being in charge of gaming, to now literally handing a $3.6 million contract to his personal fintech adviser Denis Pitcher without going through the proper tender process”.
He added: “Let’s not forget that Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, who, when cornered, admitted that her ministry failed to take the required steps to get approval to engage resQwest for the travel authorisation process and Covid 19-test booking system.”
Mr Simons said: “The OBA and the people of Bermuda find this behaviour breathtakingly unconscionable.
“We are tired of the lack of accountability and the lack of transparency and as evidenced by Mr Burt and his party. Enough is enough.”
But Mr Burt said that the Auditor-General had “audited and will continue to audit” the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added: “This Government will continue to support that effort as there is nothing to hide when it comes to funds spent to keep Bermuda safe.
“Also, the Opposition leader doesn’t need a press release to get information surrounding this or any other government contracts.
“Mr Simons serves as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee so he can conduct his own inquiry if he sees fit, which would be much more effective than attention-seeking press releases that call for what he knows is already taking place.”
Mr Pitcher became the fintech adviser to David Burt in January 2019 and was in the post when the contracts for software to manage the pandemic were awarded without a tender process to resQwest, which is also co-owned by him.
His role changed to that of unpaid fintech adviser in April last year.