Office of the President lied
- denies buying twenty Lenovo computers
- The three delivery orders received by OP
Documents of laptop purchases by the Office of the President show that the Presidential Secretariat lied when it stated that it did not buy 20 Lenovo G550 laptops. The lie was an effort to accuse Kaieteur News of making false claims.
In a statement Thursday, the Office of the President said Kaieteur News was wrong in claiming that the Office of the President “reportedly bought 20 Lenovo G550 computers at US$585 each.”
“This is false and misleading and is in keeping with the clear agenda of the Kaieteur News to disparage development projects being put in place by the Guyana Government to benefit all Guyanese,” the Office of the President said.
The statement added that the Office of the President bought five Lenovo G560 computers for use by the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) office at a cost of US$699 each.
“This gross distortion could have been avoided by checking with the relevant officials, as Kaieteur News had been previously advised,” the Office of the President said, while urging media houses “to adhere to the basic principles of journalism, including seeking clarification/comment when required.”
But documents received by this newspaper confirm the Office of the President did buy 20 G550 laptops. The documents proved that Office of the President lied.
The laptops were bought from AN Electronics of 30 North Road Bourda, Georgetown, whose telephone number is 225-3838 and whose sales e-mail address is email@example.com.
The computers were delivered on three different dates and received by different persons. The exact model bought by the Office of the President is the Lenovo G550 2958-XFU RT.
According to documents seen by Kaieteur News, and reproduced in these pages, the first 13 laptops were delivered to the Office of the President on January 12, 2011. The laptops were delivered by Kapil Harriprashad and received at Office of the President by one Marcelle Joseph.
On January 14, 2011, another four laptops of the same model were delivered by the said Kapil Harriprashad and received by K. Lewis.
The final three laptops were delivered on January 31, 2011 by Kapil Harriprashad and received at Office of the Presdient by a Lolita Hassan.
The owner of AN Electronics, when contacted, said that any business done with his clients is confidential and so he would not offer comment on the matter.
The documents confirm the purchase of the laptops as stated by this newspaper and show that by accusing the Kaieteur News of making false claims the Office of the President was perpetuating a lie and was seeking to deceive the nation.
Kaieteur News has since learnt that the author of the press release denying the purchase was Presidential Liaison, Kwame McCoy.`
Regarding the Office of the President’s citation that the media should seek clarification on issues, it should be noted that two weeks have passed since Kaieteur News sought an interview with the Senior Project Office, Sesh Sukdeo, on the One Laptop Per Family Project.
An interview was requested two Mondays ago, but when Kaieteur News turned up for the interview, Sukhdeo said that when he had set the time he was unaware that he had another appointment but that he would set a new time.
Up to this date, Sukdeo has not made good on his undertaking to set another date for the interview.
Last Monday when Kaieteur News called back Sukdeo’s office to follow up on the interview request, this newspaper was told that any information would have to be given by the President Jagdeo’s Information Liaison Officer, Kwame McCoy.
On the very day, Minister within the Ministry of Finance Jennifer Webster answered questions in the National Assembly about the one Laptop Per Family Programme, confirming that the brand being acquired was Lenovo. It was then that she wrongly said that one of the 90,000 laptops the government intends to procure would cost G$295,000 and sought to defend that this cost was “competitive.”
Kaieteur News compared prices and found that the price Webster quoted was exorbitant. On Tuesday, Kaieteur News sought from McCoy the exact model of the Lenovo laptops the Office of the President had acquired. He was not available at the time of the first call but he later returned the call to advise that Minister Webster would make a statement on the issue.
Minister Webster went back to the National Assembly on Tuesday to say that the cost she gave was wrong and in fact the government estimated that the cost for procuring one of the laptops would be US$295 and not $295,000.
However, the Minister did not say what the exact model of Lenovo laptop the government was acquiring is. Kaieteur News then sought this information from McCoy, but he has so far not returned the call.
But the documents show, just as Kaieteur News claimed, that the laptops acquired by the Office of the President is the Lenovo G550 model, whether or not this was for distribution to the public or for use by the One Laptop Per Family office.
In an invited comment, Kaieteur News Editor-in- Chief Adam Harris said that Kaieteur News always provides accurate information. He said that there are mistakes at times but these are corrected as soon as the error is identified.
The newspaper is now awaiting an apology from Office of the President for the attemot at defamation.