Jul 03, 2016 News
Back in January 2015, the previous administration won over $900M in a court judgement against Indian company Surendra Engineering Company Limited (SECL).
It had sued for sums it had lost to the company which defaulted on the US$18M Specialty Hospital contract it was awarded by the Jagdeo administration.
Even before then, however, Surendra’s Managing Director, Brijen Parikh, skipped the country, not only leaving the government but also sub contractor BK International with millions of dollars out of pocket. In addition, the limited assets the company left behind could not come close to covering the sums.
When asked at a press conference yesterday what steps the administration had taken to recover the sums since coming to office, Attorney General (AG) Basil Williams revealed that the court judgment was actually an empty one, as the whereabouts of SECL representatives could not be verified to this day.
“I have seen the order against Surendra, but Surendra is nowhere to be found. The last Government waited until Surendra skipped Guyana and then brought an action, knowing full well that Surendra had already fled Guyana. So what we got was an empty judgement unless we could find any asset that they had in Guyana. “
Williams stated that even if they tried to use diplomatic or other judicial channels to enforce the judgment, Surendra would still have to be found. He queried whether Surendra was indeed in India and reiterated that he did not have the information on Surendra’s whereabouts.
According to Williams, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo were the ones who needed to give account for the fact that Surendra has vanished and there is no information on their whereabouts.
“When I came into this office we had no files. The Solicitor General said she knew nothing about it. The last Attorney General used to give it out to the private practitioners. I have no files on the Surendra matter.”
“That matter has not been brought to me by the Solicitor General. I think it would be good for you to find out from Nandlall if he is willing to help, it is he that filed the action.
“Once I get the particulars, I would attempt to clean up the mess, as we have been doing right now to clean up all the mess the PPP has left.”
According to the AG, once sufficient information and a factual case is before his chambers then a course of action could be determined. Reminded that he has been in office as AG for more than a year, Williams reiterated that he did not have the necessary information.
The award had included sums that were lost in the Government’s contract with the company for the design and construction of the proposed Specialty Hospital; costs in the sum of US$10,714.50 ($2.3M); and interest at the rate of six percent per annum from the date of filing to the date of judgment and at the rate of four percent until fully paid.
The company had been given 20 percent of the contract sum in advance payment and additional payments. Instead of the company submitting receipts to account for these advances, it submitted unsigned and inflated bank guarantees.
The company was taken to court following breaches of contract, which saw the then People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government firing the company and calling in the police.
It is not the only project which SECL received under the PPP and defaulted on. A probe was also conducted into another controversial deal involving the supply of 14 drainage pumps to the tune of US$4M.
That contract was awarded in 2011, shortly before former President Jagdeo ended his second term.
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