Dec 06, 2015 News
Indian contractor, Fedders Lloyd, which recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the new administration to complete the Specialty Hospital, has accused the current Opposition of lying about the project.
Ajay Jha, a senior official of the contractor, claimed that ex-President, Donald Ramotar, and his administration were all set to offer Fedders Lloyd the project after the May 11 elections despite the firm being questionably disqualified in August 2012.
The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) went on to lose the election. The David Granger administration late last month announced that it has signed the MOU with Fedders Lloyd to complete the Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, facility which will cater for specialist treatments for patients.
Recently, Nandlall insisted that the new government wrongfully and unlawfully handpicked Fedders Lloyd for the contract.
The Ministry of Finance justified the decision of going with Fedders Lloyd saying that it was the next eligible contractor after Surendra Engineering Company Limited (SECL) and in any case, the procedures used were all in keeping with established procurement systems.
“This company was disqualified when the project was first tendered and this company has a close relationship, apparent or real, to Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan (Minister of Public Security),” Nandlall had claimed.
The former Attorney General made it clear that should the Government insist on proceeding with the project without retendering, then the party would challenge the government in the High Court and “bring an abrupt halt” to the process.
However, according to the Fedders Lloyd representative, after sacking the former contractor, Surendra Engineering Company Limited (SECL) in September last year for poor performance and forgery on a bid bond, the then Government approached Fedders Lloyd.
Jha claimed that he made a presentation to ex-President Donald Ramotar last December and was referred to Nandlall. Over the following months, Jha and his company met with former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, and other top officials on the project and were asked to submit letters and other documentation in preparation for the award of the contract.
On April 14, days before the elections, more documents were submitted.
“I am surprised at the statements of the former Attorney General as he, and the former President and even Dr. Singh never said we were disqualified when they were talking to us.”
Jha claimed that when the contract was surprisingly awarded to Surendra on August 23, 2012, it came as a shock as his company was ahead on all points in the assessments.
Even former Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, was not clear who won since the entire project was shrouded in secrecy.
“Surendra was never in contentions because the bid bond was submitted from an India bank.”
Jha explained that for companies operating in another country, it is best practice to submit a performance bond that could be drawn in a local bank.
Fedders Lloyd complied with its bond issued by ScotiaBank in Guyana.
What was painful was the fact that it was the previous government that after insisting Surendra and the Specialty Hospital were above board, found out that the company had submitted a fake bond from Trinidad.
In all, there were five bidders in 2012 with the highest US$42M.
That left SECL and Fedders Lloyd, Jha disclosed.
Fedders Lloyd was disqualified by Government which claimed that two bid prices were submitted in the proposal for the hospital.
Jha insisted that the proposal was in keeping with the bidding process and was not two prices but rather one showing the discount that was being offered.
The matter had seen a formal complaint by Fedders Lloyd in India as the monies, US$18M, was coming from there.
The official claimed that the selection of SECL was surprising as it was more known as a spare parts supplier.
There was more surprise when Guyana learnt that SECL had won the contract to bring in 14 large drainage pumps for US$4M.
“We are one of the top companies in India with a presence in over 30 countries,” the executive said.
Last year, the previous Government, in addition to sacking SECL from the specialty hospital project, also terminated the contract on the pump.
Both contracts had been a major embarrassment because of the close association that SECL had with the previous government.
A court this year granted a judgment of over $900M against SECL for the specialty hospital but by then the Government was unable to collect as the company had packed up and left.
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