…calls it documented case of corruption involving a Govt. Minister
The opposition plans to test a call made by the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) for evidence of Government corruption.
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo has indicated plans to present a report from the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) which details procurement breaches in the process that led to the award of a $148M contract to a Dutch company which conducted a feasibility study for the new bridge design across the Demerara River.
“This is a documented case of corruption of unbelievable proportions, directly involving a Minister of the Government who bypassed our laws and the designated authority, according to our laws, to a Cabinet, to approve an illegality,” Jagdeo told reporters on Thursday.
The PPC found that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, headed by Minister David Patterson, did not tender for the project.
The report indicated that the Ministry received an unsolicited proposal from LievenseCSO Engineering Contracting BV, to provide consultancy services for the bridge project.
“We believe that this report could result in either the Minister or the entire Cabinet being charged for corruption,” the Opposition Leader noted.
He added, “Let me make it clear right at the beginning that we plan to send this report to SOCU.”
Former senior officials of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) have been the focus of SOCU’s fraud probe, with charges being laid against former Finance Minister, Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington, former head of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).
The Opposition, according to Jagdeo, had questioned SOCU Advisor, Dr. Sam Sittlington as to why the PPP officials were the only ones being targeted by SOCU while numerous reports of corruption by the coalition Government were not being investigated.
“He [Sittlington] said you can write to us and submit the report, so we will be writing SOCU and submitting this report,” Jagdeo noted.
The PPC conducted the investigation of the contract award process based on a request from Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira.
According to the PPC, Patterson, by way of a Memorandum dated November 18, 2016, made a request to Cabinet seeking consideration and approval to use funds from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC).
Specifically, Patterson requested funds from the company’s asphalt plant accounts to fund the feasibility study and commence a contractual arrangement with Dutch company, as of January 1, 2017.
The PPC in its investigation found that the Minister’s request to Cabinet was not forwarded through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).
Based on the PPC report, the submission by Patterson, directly to Cabinet, was in breach of the Procurement Act.
In December 2016, General Manager of the DHBC, Rawlston Adams, signed the agreement with LievenseCSO Engineering Contracting BV to provide the required services.
The report stated that Adams informed the PPC that the Board of the DHBC was not a party to the decision to use the funds approved by the Cabinet. He further informed the PPC that he ‘had not signed the contract on behalf of the DHBC, but only because he was requested to do so by the Minster of Public Infrastructure’.
PPC found that the procurement procedure used to select the company did not meet the requirement of any of the methods described in the Procurement Act. And there is no procedure that defines how a procurement entity should deal with ‘unsolicited proposals’.
LievenseCSO had submitted a 57-page final report, in which it recommended that the proposed location of Houston-Versailles was the most ideal – with a three-lane structure and moveable part to allow for ships to pass through.
It was the best model, at the least cost, the consultant recommended.
Oct 15, 2018Eagles Basketball Club and Pacesetters played both matches contested on Saturday at the Burnham hard court in the Second and First Division of the Rainforest Water/Malta Supreme/Georgetown Amateur...
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