Both the 2014 and 2015 audit reports prepared by Auditor General of Guyana, Deodat Sharma,
revealed a number of overpayments made to contractors for works done on the East Coast Demerara Highway under the People’s Progressive Party Civic government.
Questions had arisen as to when these overpayments will be recovered. According to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, this process will begin in the New Year.
He said that one of the contractors is presently in receivership. Patterson said that based on this situation, the contractor’s indebtedness has been forwarded to the Attorney-General’s chambers. He did not specify which of the contractors this was.
Patterson said that the other contractor will be repaying amounts by installments and this is to begin in 2017. The 2014 audit had identified two companies which were overpaid large sums of money for works done during the highway expansion and improvement project.
In the 2014 report, Courtney Benn Contracting Services and Compustruct Engineering Inc. were identified.
Courtney Benn was contracted Lot three which is the stretch of road from La Bonne Intention to Beterverwagting. The contract sum was $349M and payments made at the time of the report totalled $278M. At the time of the physical verification, the value of work done was $157M which represented an excess of $120M in overpayments.
Compustruct was contracted Lot four which is the area between Beterverwagting and Triumph. That contract sum was $322M and total payments made at the time of the report totalled $209M. At the time of the physical verification, the work done was valued at $76M. There was an overpayment of $132M.
In the 2015 report, overpayment was recorded for Lot one of the project which began at Better Hope and ended at Montrose village. A contract valued $468M was awarded for preparatory works. There was no mention in the report as to who the contractor was.
As of September, the audit stated that there was no evidence to confirm that the Ministry was able to recover the sum of $81M which is the contractor’s indebtedness.
Recently, the new administration signed a line of credit with the China Exim Bank to finance the further expansion of the roadway.
As a result of this arrangement there will be a US$46M financial injection. The total length of road to be rehabilitated is some 17 kilometres. The four-lane widening will be a total of 7,400 metres and the two lane upgrade will be a total length of 9,598 metres.
The project will entail the widening and improvement of a section of the main thoroughfare between Better Hope and Belfield villages.
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