The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is forging ahead with the investigation into the $148M consultancy contract approved for a feasibility study for a new bridge across the Demerara River.
Head of SOCU, Sydney James, met yesterday with Police Legal Advisor, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, to discuss aspects of the investigation. James was tightlipped about steps being taken, but Kaieteur News understands that there are plans to have Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, visit SOCU to meet with investigators.
This was confirmed by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, who met with James and other investigators at SOCU in relation to the Pradoville 2 probe.
“I was told that he [Patterson] will be called here [at SOCU] for an interview and other members of the Cabinet will be invited to SOCU. We are very pleased about that; that the same standard is going to be used,” Jagdeo stated.
He indicated that the bridge contract is only the first of approximately five complaints, which the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will make to SOCU, involving the Coalition Government’s Cabinet, participating in what is considered to be highly corrupt transactions. These constitute various criminal offences, the PPP said.
Chief Whip Gail Teixeira had submitted a letter to SOCU requesting the investigation along with the findings from a probe conducted by the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) into the bridge contract, which was awarded in December 2016 to LievenseCSO Engineering Contracting BV, a Dutch company.
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.
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. The Ministry admitted that it received an unsolicited proposal from LievenseCSO.
Additionally, the PPC probe highlighted that the General Manager of the DHBC, Rawlston Adams, signed the agreement without the approval of the DHBC Board.
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.
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 Minister of Public Infrastructure’.
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 parts to allow for ships to pass through.
It was the best model, at the least cost, the consultant recommended.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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