Oct 02, 2016 News
-key procurement staffer listed as living at contractor’s Kitty property
Procurement documents of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) pertaining to a controversial $100M purchase of high frequency radios for last year’s national elections are indicating that the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) was deliberately misled.
According to the GECOM tender documents, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, wrote to NPTAB’s Chairman, Donald De Clou, on April 23, 2015, asking for permission to conduct selective tendering for 50 high frequency Barrett communication radios, complete with
However, GECOM instead collected over 20 of the older Barrett radios and 30 ICOM 718 radios. The mere fact that GECOM collected other than what was permitted would be a major breach of procurement regulations.
It would raise all kinds of questions as to GECOM’s internal controls and who signed off for collecting the radios and authorizing the balance of the monies to be paid to Mobile Authority, the company which was questionably awarded the contract, a source said.
A state audit has been launched into the radio purchases with the scope now widened to include hundreds of millions of dollars in other purchases by GECOM, for the elections.
There are indications that the questionable spending continued into this year’s Local Government Elections with a number of questionable payments already flagged by auditors.
According to GECOM’s procurement documents relating to the radio purchase, Lowenfield insisted in the letter to NPTAB that the radios are important for communications on Polling Day in far-flung areas that have no telephone services.
“Therefore, it is imperative that GECOM establish communication contact in areas where there is no telephone services,” he wrote.
He informed Tender Board that three quotations were sourced from reputable suppliers- Mobile Authority, Massy Technologies and Advanced Office Systems Inc.
”With varying prices, Mobile Authority quoted the lowest cost of $99,560,000 and indicated a delivery time of seven working days.”
On the spreadsheet attached to the letter, Lowenfield made it clear that it was HF Barrett radios that GECOM wanted. Each radio, he said, would have cost approximately $1.2M from Mobile Authority.
State auditors are probing whether those radios supplied by Mobile Authority, a Water Street business owned by Michael Brasse, were ever deployed.
From all indications the radios were not. Rather, many of the radios were still in boxes when auditors descended on GECOM’s stores a few weeks ago, raising questions about the reasons Lowenfield gave to Tender Board for ordering them in the first place.
Insiders said that it would have been logistically impossible for GECOM to collect the radios and have them installed in time for the May 11, 2015 elections.
Lowenfield last week insisted that GECOM played little role in the tendering process. He did not indicate that GECOM recommended to Tender Board which company it wanted.
Meanwhile, there is evidence that one critical staffer of GECOM, involved in the procurement process, had links to Brasse, a businessman whose entities received over 40 percent of the $700M-plus worth in contracts doled out last year.
According to GECOM’s database, the Expeditor, Charwayne Walker, has his address listed as 58 Garnett Street, Newtown, Kitty.
The same address is listed on the database as that of Michael Brasse.
It would raise troubling questions about a possible conflict of interest as Walker is one of the main staffers to go out to collect quotes from businesses for supplies and other services.
According to established procurement regulations, GECOM can spend below $250,000 without seeking approvals.
Between $250,000 and $15M, NPTAB has to grant approval. For spending above $15M, it is both the NPTAB and the Cabinet that have to grant approvals.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
Feb 26, 2024Kaieteur Sports – A packed Bush Lot Sports Complex Ground witnessed the Cotton Tree Die Hard team stormed to a championship win in the AJM Mash It Up T20 tournament. Cotton Tree defeated...
Feb 26, 2024
Feb 26, 2024
Feb 26, 2024
Feb 26, 2024
Feb 25, 2024
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – When the Foreign Ministers of the world’s wealthiest nations gathered in Brazil... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.