E.C.D. four-lane extension project…Non-performance, fraud led to contact termination – Public Works Ministry
The Ministry of Public Works said that it has never received any report of the bribery demands referred to by a contractor whose contract for a section of the East Coast Demerara four-lane extension, was terminated.
The Managing Director of the contracting firm, Falcon Transportation and Construction Services, had claimed that Ministry of Public Works officials as well as a ‘Big Man’ from the Ministry of Finance had made demands for kickbacks from the $468M contract.
He remains convinced that his contract was terminated in retaliation to his suspension of work on his section of the project over non-payment by the Ministry of Public Works.
The Ministry is maintaining that “In view of the non performance by the Contractor on this project, the advice of the Attorney General’s Chambers was sought and the Ministry was advised to terminate the contract for fraudulent practices.”
The Ministry, in a statement issued yesterday, said that Falcon Transportation and Construction Services was awarded a contract on 6 September, 2011 in the sum of $468.2M for the widening of the public road and construction of concrete drains on both sides of the road from Better Hope to Montrose, East Coast Demerara. The start date was 14 November, 2011 with a completion date of 14 July, 2012.
The Ministry acknowledged that the Contractor was granted an extension of 104 days as a consequence of revised design drawings, which were necessary, and verified delays due to inclement weather.
The new completion date of his contract would have been October 26, 2012.
But according to the Ministry, one of the main bones of contention was that the Contractor falsified compressive strength test results to prove that the concrete used for drains construction met the required strength.
“The Faculty of Technology, University of Guyana, whose advice was sought, has confirmed that the results of the tests were indeed falsified.”
The Ministry pointed out in its statement that the Contractor was written to on January 26, 2012 and February 10, 2012, and meetings were held with him and his representative on January 30 and May 18, 2012, to which he did not respond to the claims of falsification.
However, the Contractor had indicated that his company had even logged the test results with the University of Guyana.
Another issue raised by the Ministry was the “questionable” invoices submitted by the Contractor.
The Ministry said that five out of 11 invoices submitted by the Contractor from suppliers had blacked out invoice numbers, and claims for the same items (steel) twice.
“There were regular project meetings which were held either on site or at the Works Services Group during the period the Contractor was on this project. There were repeated entreaties with the Contractor and his Engineer to do works of the required standard and to correct substandard works. These entreaties were all to no avail.”
The Ministry said that all of this led to the advice of the Attorney General being sought, and consequently the contract was terminated in a letter dated July 31, 2012, to the Contractor.
The Ministry indicated that it was further advised to report the matter to the Police for appropriate action because of fraudulent practices committed by the Contractor.
“It should be pointed out that at no time, prior to the termination of the contract, did the Contractor approach the Permanent Secretary or the Hon. Minister of Public Works in relation to any acts of corruption by Technical Officers of the Ministry.”
The Ministry stated that it would appear that the Contractor is making allegations to cover up his own inefficiencies and corrupt practices in relation to his non-performance on the project.
“However, if the Contractor has any evidence to support his claims he is free to approach the Ministry of Public Works, the Office of the President, the Audit Office of Guyana or the Police (CID) to seek redress.
The Ministry is also requesting statements to verify claims of alleged bribery demands to have same investigated.”