An official request has been made to Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to investigate the consultancy contract for the new Demerara River Bridge which was awarded to a Dutch company in 2016.
Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira yesterday submitted a letter to SOCU requesting the investigation along with the findings from a probe conducted by the Public Procurement Commission (PPPC) into the deal.
In her letter addressed to Sydney James, Head of SOCU, Teixeira said the report was being submitted with a view to instituting criminal charges against the Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson.
The PPC report highlighted procurement breaches in the award of contract to LievenseCSO Engineering Contracting BV, a Dutch company. The PPC in its investigation found that Patterson’s request to Cabinet for approval of the contract was not forwarded through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).
“Due to the seriousness of their findings and the gross violations of the Procurement Act, with particular reference to the role of the Minister of Public Infrastructure in violating the Procurement Act and the most recent Code of Conduct as outlined in the Integrity Commission, Act, I hereby call on the SOCU to take action as required under the law,” Teixeira stated.
The Chief Whip had written to the PPC requesting the investigation into the December 2016 contract award. The PPC noted that the reference tender was for $148M.
The 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.
Additionally, the PPC probe highlighted that the General Manager of the DHBC, Rawlston Adams signed the agreement without the approval of the DHBC Board.
LievenseCSO was one of 23 companies that responded to a November 2015 advertisement from the Ministry for the feasibility study for the new Demerara River Bridge.
Twelve companies were shortlisted and were requested to submit detailed proposals. Only two companies submitted detailed proposals as requested.
The Ministry noted that having reviewed the two proposals, an evaluation Committee deemed one of the two detailed submissions as being inconsistent with what was required, and the other, far in excess of budget, even after negotiations with the bidder.
Consequently, the Ministry noted, with the agreement of the NPTAB, it annulled the tender process.
According to the Ministry, this then left the Government “in a most peculiar situation of having faithfully and dutifully executed the outlined procurement process and having yielded zero result for a project which is of national importance”.
The Ministry admitted that an unsolicited proposal was received from LievenseCSO Infrastructure & Environment with Econovision and Ace Consultancy.
The Ministry stated that the proposal satisfied the government’s requirements. Further, it was noted that given the relevant time constraints, it was felt that it was in Guyana’s interest to take advantage of the proposal.
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