– no evidence Town Council gave permission for works
The Office of the Auditor General has indicated that it will be launching a probe to determine the circumstances under which a Berbice office of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) collapsed Saturday.
Yesterday, Mayor of Corriverton, Krishnand Jaichand, questioned the cause of the incident. He said that the Town Council of Corriverton could not immediately find any evidence that an application was made for works to be done on the GECOM office.
The building was said to be an old one. It is the main office of GECOM in the Upper Corentyne area.
“I can tell you that we are not aware that any application was made for works to be done. Before any works can be done, on any building, like the rest of the world, we have to receive an application. We can’t find any records that one has been made to us,” the Mayor said.
Under regulations, the relevant town councils or Neighbourhood Democratic Councils have to be aware when new constructions are being done.
An application has to be made inclusive of engineer’s drawings, among other things.
With GECOM being a constitutional body in charge of elections, there are even higher expectations for compliance to what should be a run-of-the-mill matter.
On Sunday, a Town Council official said that any application to raise the level of the GECOM office would not have got a positive response because of the condition of the building before it fell- it was too old.
Yesterday, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, disclosed that he has seen the report of the collapse in Kaieteur News and would be investigating.
“We will be conducting a probe on the incident,” he said.
The collapse would have occurred after noon Saturday while workers were reportedly attempting to raise the building. However, something went wrong and the building came crashing down.
A man who was in the building was reportedly pulled from it. There were no indications that he was injured.
What seems wrong with the situation is that the contract was reportedly awarded to a mechanic/welder in the Corriverton area.
It is unclear whether GECOM followed the correct tender process. However, the “contractor” reportedly sub-contracted the work to another individual.
GECOM is facing unprecedented questions over its procurement practices with state auditors investigating how hundreds of millions of dollars were spent by the entity for the 2015 general elections.
The procurement of $100M in outdated communications radios just days before the elections sparked a special investigation by the Auditor General’s office with the report to be considered by GECOM’s commissioners.
The matter could end up in the police hands.
Evidence suggests that hundreds of millions in contracts were awarded under questionable circumstances to a Water Street businessman and his brother for radios, batteries, toners and even pliers.
With GECOM’s credibility expected to be above board, the issue has been a sore one.
Earlier this year, the entity in a clear retaliation to Kaieteur News and the reporting over the questionable purchases, pulled its advertisements.
There were indication that quotations were forged and contracts broken up in different parts so as not to attract the attention of auditors or the National Administration and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).
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