Shortly after the David Granger administration took office last year, eight containers of steel seized by the previous Government were reportedly handed over to contractor, B.K International.
However, the circumstances of that transaction last year are now raising serious questions and threatening the credibility and transparency of the young administration.
Amidst the ongoing public quarrel and growing scandal, former President Donald Ramotar in a letter to the editor published yesterday in Kaieteur News, made it clear that the transaction stinks.
The issue has seen Ramotar and BK’s owner, Brian Tiwarie, releasing a number of embarrassing Letters to the Editor, pointing fingers at each other over a number of transactions and contracts.
Those eight containers were shipped by Surendra Engineering Company Inc. (SECI) for construction works on the Specialty Hospital at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.
However, in late 2014, the Indian contractor was fired from the US$18M project with the Ramotar government contending that forged bank security documents were submitted as security bonds. The company was also accused of being way behind schedule.
The Government of Guyana went ahead and sued. The court last year January granted judgment in its favor, including special damages of US$4,285,440 and interest thereon and costs of US$10,714.50.
While that court case had been ongoing, the PPP/C government learnt of the containers of steel which the Indian firm had brought in for the project. The containers, Ramotar said, were taken off the wharf and handed into the custody of the Ministry of Health.
It was the intention, via the court case, to execute the judgment obtained against Surendra by levying on the containers.
According to the former President, at the request of the Office of the President, the GRA did a one hundred percent inspection of the containers.
The value of the steel in the container was equivalent to the US$4.5M judgment that was handed down by the court last year, the ex-president said.
“As a result, we were assured that the value was sufficient to satisfy the judgment. These containers were removed at the instance of Mr. Tiwarie. Therefore, I maintain that millions of dollars’ worth in steel were virtually handed to him by his new found political friends.”
Ramotar would be referring to the closeness of Tiwarie to the new administration.
Tiwarie was also appointed as Ministerial Advisor on Business Development by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in January. However, that embarrassing appointment was rescinded in March by President Granger.
How the containers of steel, seized by the previous Government, ended up in the hands of B.K shortly after the May 2015 general elections is what Ramotar wants to know.
The case would be a hard one to swallow for citizens who have seen their taxpayers lost to poorly supervised projects without much action taken to recover the precious tax dollars spent.
Surendra had hurriedly left the jurisdiction last year with not much assets left behind for Government to seize.
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