The Indian contractor which was sacked by Government in early September over the US$18M Specialty Hospital is in liquidation.
This latest development would bring uncertainty into legal proceedings filed by the Government of Guyana to recover over US$4M.
According to information seen by Kaieteur News, the company which was incorporated on September 8, 2008, is an unlisted public company which has its registered office at Mumbai, Maharashtra. Its last reported annual general meeting, according to records, was held on September 28, 2012. The company has eight directors.
According to Leader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Khemraj Ramjattan, the Surendra contracts in Guyana have continued to raise shocking questions over the manner in which Government goes about its businesses. SECL was awarded the contract to build the US$12.5M sugar packaging plant at Enmore.
Government then, in 2011, turned around and awarded another contract to the company to supply 14 fixed and mobile drainage pump, for US$4M. That contract was under fire as SECL had no immediate history of dealing with pumps.
Under questionable circumstances again, Government awarded SECL the contract for the Indian-funded Specialty Hospital that is being built at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.
There were objections by another Indian firm over the award of the contract, with a complaint later filed with Indian parliamentarians.
“I want to go this far and say that the Bank in India is responsible in not screening the participants accessing its funding; or doing at minimum a due diligence or minimum scrutiny of the awardee as recommended by these ‘Chatrees’ in Guyana.
“Even a fourth grader could find out the company’s activities from their web site. It is so appalling to see monies getting misappropriated and images of the people and of the country, Guyana, getting tarnished.” The Parliamentarian made it clear that it will be nigh impossible for Guyana to recoup the monies it paid to SECL for the Specialty Hospital.
“Is it coincidence that the Surendra is in liquidation now? I am not sure what chance, if any, will this corrupt PPP Government or any future Government will have to recover the sum of US$4.5M that Surendra was paid upfront.”
Ramjattan also noted that it is no surprise that the Guyana Sugar Corporation has blacklisted SECL from participating in any of its contracts.
“What can be said on GuySuCo’s association with Surendra Engineering? What benefit has the Enmore packaging plant brought to the industry? Where are the irrigations pumps ordered back in 2009-10? Will the defaults and delays on delivery by SECL be followed with any penalties? Hardly likely now that liquidation of SECL has commenced.”
In October, Government moved to the courts to have SECL pay damages to the tune of US$4.2M and $100M.
Surendra Engineering, according to court documents, has to make an appearance in the Commercial Court, which Justice Rishi Persaud presides over, on December 3, 2014.
In the statement of claim, Government said that SECL failed to complete works as specified in its contract. Government claimed that it fired the Indian company after unearthing a forged a bank guarantee from the Central Bank of Trinidad for the Specialty Hospital project.
Courts documents also allege that Surendra submitted fabricated, unsigned and sometimes inflated invoices for the hospital project with no evidence of actual payments made or to support the expenditure claimed.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon told the media that ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department were working actively with the matter. He said too, that all stakeholders of the contract have been informed of the termination of the contract.
Luncheon also said that the administration was seeking to have officials of the Indian Ex-Im Bank, which funded the project, travel to Guyana to have discussions with them on a way forward on the project.
SECL had denied tendering the fake bank guarantee. Managing Director, Brijen Parikh, in a statement issued had said that “all such allegations of fraud or financial irregularities are completely baseless and without any merit.”
The company claims it is owed several million US dollars from the Government in respect of work done at the site so far.
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