This is why there is no fraud involved in National Gallery’s $13m contractual waivers

The $13m waivers did not amount to fraud and most certainly not corruption. To understand what this means, one needs to understand the nature of penalty. Contractor did something wrong, a penalty need to be awarded. Penalties are imposed commonly for delays. 

If you’ve ever dealt with an interior designer, you’ll know this is quite common. Building and architectural projects will not escape this. Because of the nature of the work, shortage of materials, manpower and so on… contractors are at the mercy of penalties.

And there are procedures in there to impose this penalty. In this case, these penalties are waived. Why? Well, for a variety of reasons: the project needs to be completed speedily, leniency, giving the contractor a break for minor breaches.

The industry should be wary of the myriad of articles, from writers that do not understand procurement procedure, accusing the government of all sorts of exotic claims including corruption and fraud. 

It is not corruption and fraud. Contract variation and and waivers are miles away from corruption and fraud. 

You could say that the approval process was improper and that the process and protocol ought to be revised. If that was the case, then it won’t just be the industry that suffers…it will also be the citizens that suffers.

Whether or not a penalties ought to be imposed or not depends on how significant the issue is. Do you penalize your renovation contractor on every misaligned screw? Every hairline crack in the paint? Every stain on the floor? Fix the problem surely, but definately not penalise them.

If there was all this red tape, restriction and strict penalties everywhere, contractors are going to be overly careful about the way that they do their work. This would lead to serious delay of development, serious bottleneck to payments and in short, life is going to be made that much more difficult.

In the words of comedian David Bala, it will be a case of “You die, I die, Everybody die”.

Writers of articles that accuse the government of corruption, without first doing their research and learning on contract law and procedure are doing everyone a disfavour. 

There is no fine line here between corruption and procedure. It is a big, wide gap. If there was corruption, you can be very sure the CPIB would be all over their books, not just the Attorney-General. 

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