Synergy Holdings Inc. may not raise project money
There are now more questions than answers surrounding the US$15 million contract that has been awarded to Makeshwar ‘Fip’ Motilall. The contract is to build approach roads to the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric site.
Motilall himself is not helping because when this newspaper finally caught up with him yesterday at his Guyana office at 117 John Smith Street, Campbellville, he declined to respond to any query on the contract.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon when asked about the award of the contract to Synergy Holdings Inc. during a recent press briefing said that this decision was made via a public tender, done within the provisions of the Procurement Act.
He said based on the submission of the standard bid documents, Synergy Holdings Inc. was successful in acquiring the contract.
Synergy Holdings Inc. came to Guyana with the proposal in 2002.
It promised to raise funds for the hydro project within two years. However, to date, eight years later, the entity has been unable to raise funding, hence the “advance” by the Guyana Government, as reported by President Bharrat Jagdeo.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, one of the first people Motilall met when he came to Guyana with the proposal for the hydroelectric project, said, yesterday, that Motilall won the bid from some others.
Kaieteur News has since learnt that among those tendering for the contract to construct the roads leading to the Amaila Falls hydropower site were BK International and a joint venture consortium.
When asked to comment on the award of the contract to a man who owes taxes in the United States, Prime Minister Hinds said those who conducted the due diligence must have been satisfied.
He said that he is not directly involved in the project but he is aware that bonds had to be posted and the contracts processed. He added that he could not say whether the information about ‘Fip’ Motilall’s indebtedness was correct. This information is publicly available on the official website for the Palm Beach County Tax Collector in the State of Florida USA (www.pbc.gov.com).
One individual close to the tender board said that everyone was required to lodge a bond and that the project had the blessing of the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank. However, in some quarters, the view is that with the award of this contract, both international agencies may withdraw from funding the project.
This may mean that the Guyana Government may have to fund the project from public funds, something that President Bharrat Jagdeo said that he is prepared to do if necessary.
He is already assured of at least US$30 million per year from Norway.
According to the project proposal, the notice to proceed was executed on April 12, last. Prime Minister Hinds said that there are two notices to proceed.
The first involves the preparatory work of assembling machinery and equipment for shipment to Guyana. The second notice to proceed would become effective in another two to three months.
This would mean that the December 1, 2010 deadline for the roads’ construction may be shifted backward. Conditions may develop that would force this, the Prime Minister said. He was adamant that the dam construction and other aspects of the hydro project would begin before the end of the year.
According to Motilall, there is currently a media blackout on the issue from a Synergy Holdings point of view and he will not be speaking at present on any of the matters being raised.
Alliance For Change leader, Raphael Trotman, during a press briefing said that while the party was in possession of some facts he would not seek to castigate.
Rather, in the face of many seeming irregularities, he questioned whether there was due diligence done on Motilall before awarding the contract.
According to the proposal request by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Motilall can sub-contract.
He must however provide “details on equipment and machinery owned that will be needed and used for task as proof of the Contractor’s availability of equipment and machinery….
“Where Contractor is planning to subcontract the use of equipment and machinery, a copy of the agreement between the Contractor and the sub contracted party must be included as well as a detailed listing of the fleet, machinery and equipment owned by the subcontractor.”
Motilall was also required to identify “similar large scale project experience over the previous five years citing examples of scope of work, project location and costs.”
The contractor was also required to provide details of his financial and human resource capability to undertake the Proposal.
When asked for a copy of the proposal that he submitted to NICIL to peruse, Motilall declined, saying that this information would have to be provided by the National Tender Board.
This newspaper has requested the proposal from the Prime Minister Samuel Hinds but is yet to receive it.