Sep 26, 2020 News
– insists it was guided by GRA at all times
China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), the Chinese contractor that is under pressure with the US$150M Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion project, has denied abusing its duty free concessions.
It was reported in 2015 that CHEC, which did work on the MovieTowne project, was abusing its duty free concessions privileges by using its equipment from the airport project on other construction sites. Staffers and others affiliated with the company had attested to this and when the initial story was reported in 2015, the company never refuted it. In a statement Thursday night, CHEC, however, broke its silence after another story on the issue was published in this paper.
The company said it notes with grave concern the Kaieteur News story “CJIA’s Chinese contractor illegally used equipment for MovieTowne construction” 2020/09/24.
“This story has many inaccuracies,” the release said, “and it is unfortunate that Kaieteur News did not seek to speak with us before rushing to publish it. We wish to make clear to the Guyanese public that CHEC Guyana has at all times complied with the laws of Guyana. And in instances when it was necessary, we were guided by the Guyana Revenue Authority and local auditing firms and accountants.”
While it did not specific any of the ‘many inaccuracies’ it claimed to be present in the story, the company said that it sought at all times to be compliant, and it will continue to make “compliance a priority for as long as we operate in this territory”.
The company said it is requesting that media houses contact them for clarification on questions they may have about the much needed expansion project or any of the other projects that are ongoing in Guyana.
“CHEC Guyana remains a friend and partner in Guyana’s infrastructure development and in creating jobs for Guyana’s citizens,” the statement by CHEC said.
In 2011, the company was awarded a US$150M contract to build Guyana a bigger, modernized airport. Under its contract, it was allowed to bring in materials and equipment duty-free, to the tune of billions of dollars. According to officials, CHEC used its trucks and other vehicles and possibly even sand from the airport project on the MovieTowne construction at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.
CHEC’s trucks, more than 25 of them, were granted duty free concessions by the previous government for the airport work. CHEC also reportedly received tax waivers on at least six pick-ups and four SUVs. For the airport project, CHEC was allowed use of three sandpits, two loam pits and two pagasse pits.
The company’s sister company, China Harbour Engineering Company (T&T) Ltd. also managed to win the contract to construct the MovieTowne project, a private sector development. The Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara project was contracted to in December 2014 for US$30M and has since been completed and is operational. It has been reported that a few pieces of equipment including a tower crane that came for the CJIA project was put into use at MovieTowne. CHEC has since been given the contract for the Pegasus Hotel expansion, another private development, significantly on the way to completion.
In the meantime, the CJIA expansion project is dragging along. In recent years, consecutive Governments have received flak for the management of foreign investors and contractors to ensure that they comply with agreements and not abuse concessions. The CJIA expansion project has now spanned four presidencies, starting with Bharrat Jagdeo.
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