T’dad media uncovers shady deals involving Marriott contractor
Following the revelations in recent days that Shanghai Construction Group out of Trinidad and Tobago has been awarded the contract for building the proposed Guyana Marriott Hotel even more information is now pouring out that the company has a sketchy past and is under investigation in relation to billions of dollars in fraud in that CARICOM sister country.
According to reports coming out of Trinidad and Tobago the investigations there have revealed a string of questionable dealings involving Michael Zhang, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
It was found that while his company was at work on billion-dollar Udecott projects, Michael Zhang, managing director of Chinese firm SCG International (Trinidad and Tobago), received a private cut out of the work at the Ministry of Legal Affairs project in Port-of-Spain from Sunway Construction Caribbean Limited, the controversial Malaysian company now under police probe for alleged links to former Udecott chairman Calder Hart.
SCG was also reportedly hand-picked by Udecott to work on the $244M Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre as well as the $900M National Academies for the Performing Arts in north and south Trinidad.
The company was also found to be awarded the contract for the $460M Ministry of Education Tower project on St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.
SCG has also been given a $150M contract for the upgrade of the South Terminal of the Piarco International Airport project and other contracts.
Combined with the $180M contract for the police stations and the $44M Chaguanas administrative complex, companies connected with Zhang alone have been tied to an estimated total of TT$2B in Udecott work.
Zhang, was also reportedly quietly awarded a private sub-contract on the Legal Affairs project by Sunway through his own company, Times Construction Company Limited, to do work on the $368M skyscraper project in downtown Port-of-Spain, according to documents unearthed by media investigations in Trinidad.
The disclosure is just one in a series of findings unearthed by Trinidad media investigation into Zhang’s links with Udecott.
That investigation has revealed that while SCG and Zhang worked on and bid for Udecott projects,
* SCG received work off of the controversial $368 million Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower contract awarded to Sunway, a company with alleged family ties to Hart;
* helped SCG when the company received a $180 million contract for the construction of five police stations just 12 days shy of the 2010 General Elections and after Udecott staff came under some pressure from the Ministry of National Security to get the contracts out;
* shared some responsibility, through his company, Times Construction Company Limited, for failing to give Chinese worker Xia Deyun, safety training which could have prevented Deyun’s worksite death at the site of the Ministry of Legal Affairs Tower on January 29, 2008;
* is tied to companies that have received more than $2 billion in Udecott projects.
The findings, gathered over months from confidential State documents, interviews, Freedom of Information Act applications lodged by the Joint Consultative Council (JCC), companies searches and other public documents, come amidst reports of a police investigation into SCG’s Udecott projects and amidst ongoing controversy surrounding the construction, and now looting, of the controversial church at the Heights of Guanapo, a project to which Zhang’s SCG has been tied.
The police had also raided the SCG offices at Keate Street, Port-of-Spain and had seized SCG documents from Udecott.
The Trinidadian and Tobago Ministry of Finance had also launched a special tax audit into revenues earned by Zhang’s SCG International in relation to an estimated $2B in Udecott projects which the firm was linked to over a period of four years.
The Trinidadian Board of Inland Revenue, (BIR) known as the Petroleum and Large Tax-Payers Business (PLTB) Unit, opened an audit into SCG for the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.