Cricket World Cup 2007 has come and gone, and the Guyana National Stadium continues to host various events, but one construction firm is still owed millions of dollars by the government.
Managing Director of Golden Star Contracting Services, Khamraj Singh, says the government owes him over $63M on three projects he was contracted to undertake at the Providence stadium but, despite tireless efforts to get his money, he is now breaking his silence.
Singh said because the government owes him he is unable to pay off his debt to companies from which he purchased materials to carry out his projects, and they are threatening him with legal action.
Golden Star Contracting Services was awarded three contracts for works at the stadium valued at $199M, but the total amount of works completed amounted to $267.9M. Based on certificates prepared by the Site engineer, Mr Walter Willis, the company was paid $204.2M.
On November 29, 2007, a meeting was held between Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn, Permanent Secretary Balraj Balram, Mr Willis, the contractor, and Quantity Surveyor C.R. Marshall, where the issue of nonpayment to Golden Star Contracting Services was discussed.
At that meeting, it was decided that all outstanding accounts would be settled within three days, but more than two years later no payment has been made.
Singh laid out his concerns in a letter to President Bharrat Jagdeo in November last year, urging his personal intervention.
The contractor said he had approached the President informally, and he was advised to meet with Mr Kheedmat Budhu, Assistant to the President, and relate the facts to him.
Singh told Kaieteur News that he has since met with Budhu on three separate occasions at the Office of the President and has presented his case.
“(Budhu) indicated that he will prepare a brief which will be sent to President Jagdeo for action; this has apparently not materialised,” Singh said in his letter to the President.
Singh said that because of his poor financial situation he has been unable to tender for further projects, and this has resulted in his fleet of equipment lying idle. He said he has even had to sell a few pieces of equipment to keep him “afloat during this trying period”.
The first contract Singh was given was valued at $102.7M, and was for site preparation works. During the course of the contract, there were variations ordered by the engineer, Singh stated.
He said these variations consisted of additional site preparation works, and construction of perimeter concrete drains and outlets, concrete drain covers and access to the stadium.
The total value of the works, including variations, amounted to $153M. On this particular contract, based on the payments made, Singh is owed $40.9M.
The second contract to Singh was awarded on March 21, 2006 and totalled $82M, but the final value of the work was put at $94.3M. So far only $81M has been paid over to the contractor.
Singh is contending that the final value of the works completed under this contract is $99.9M; hence the sum of $18.9M is due to the contractor. The third contract Singh was awarded was for the construction of an access road and culvert adjacent to the Buddy’s International Airport. Under this contract, the total value of works completed and submitted for payment by the contractor amounted to $14.9M. The sum owed to the contractor for this project is $3.8M.
When contacted, Permanent Secretary Balram informed us through his secretary that the issue of outstanding payments to Golden Star was a matter engaging the attention of the court. However, Singh said the matter before the court has nothing to do with the stadium contracts, but rather has to do with another project at Parika, East Bank Essequibo.
According to Singh, he had retained the services of an attorney to take the Ministry of Public Works to court on the outstanding payments on the stadium contracts, but this was put on hold in efforts to settle the matter out of court.
The Permanent Secretary did not return our call for clarification as his secretary said he would.
Singh said he is now frustrated, especially since his creditors are threatening to take him to court for the monies he owes them.
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