The forensic audit conducted into the Guyana Marketing Corporation (GMC) has unearthed what is being described as collusion between a foreign building contractor and the Board of Directors, in connection with a construction
contract for the corporation’s head office and Guyana shop.
And the result of this alleged collusion? According to forensic auditor Saykar Boodhoo, GMC’s head office, which Trinidad firm Constantine Engineering and Construction Services was contracted to build in 2011, was replete with defects and sub-standard construction materials, while the contractor recused himself from the project and went along his way.
The auditor stated that throughout the building, located at Robb and Alexander Streets, substandard work was evident. For instance, the auditor stated that the wood used to construct the internal walls was poorly manufactured and the concrete walls are chipping, with paint peeling and falling off the walls.
“Within a few months after the building was handed over to GMC, there were leaks throughout the building via the roof,” the auditor stated. “A contractor (had to be) hired by GMC to repair the roof.”
The auditor detailed that old lumber and old zinc sheets with euroband were in fact used to construct the roof of the building. This is despite the bill of quantities for the contract stipulating greenheart lumber be used for the building’s roof.
The auditor made it clear that from his investigations, GMC’s board and senior management, who he described as unprofessional and grossly negligent, are just as culpable as the contractor for the poor quality of work.
“Based on discussion with the general manager and the Accountant, the (then) directors made several visits to the building during construction.”
“However, the directors failed to highlight the blatant poor quality of work performed by the contractor. There is no documentation to show that the board acted to prevent the fraud that was perpetuated against GMC by the contractor.”
Back in 2011 the contract had been awarded, through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), to Constantine Engineering and Construction Services of Trinidad and Tobago. It is understood that Hanniel Madramootoo, an engineer from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), was also assigned to oversee the construction of the building
The audit report detailed that subsequent to the awarding of the contract, “an amendment in the amount of seven million, six hundred and twenty thousand, nine hundred and eighty four dollars ($7,620,984) on February 10, 2012 was done to increase the contract amount without going out to tender.”
The auditor observed that the amendment also extended the contract duration to March 16, 2012. Shortly after the contract amendment, Constantine Engineering announced to GMC that they would be unable to complete the construction of the GMC office building.
As such another contractor was called in to complete the electrical wiring and relevant works to the GMC office building. The auditor stated that what is unclear, however, is exactly how much funds were given to Constantine Engineering.
The auditor was pellucid in declaring that Constantine Engineering and its owner should be barred from ever providing services to the Government of Guyana. He also recommended criminal proceedings.
“Efforts should be made to bring charges against Mr. Nizam Ramkissoon, the owner and managing director of Constantine Engineering and Construction Services Ltd of, 55 Calcutta Road #2 Freeport, Carapichaima, Trinidad.”
In addition, the auditor called for the termination of the engineer, Hanniel Madramootoo, if he was still employed by the Ministry. He also stated that the engineer should be blacklisted from providing services to the Government.
And since the auditor found that the payments for the construction vouchers were certified by the engineer, Hanniel Madramootoo, he went on to recommend criminal charges.
With regards to the Board of Directors who were serving at the time, the auditor recommended that they be reprimanded by the government and barred from future engagements with the Government of Guyana.
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