Apr 21, 2021 News
…Patterson, Adams fraud case
Kaieteur News – As the fraud case against Former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, and Former General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Rawlston Adams, continues, the court is awaiting the contract that was given to the company to conduct the feasibility study to build the new Demerara Harbour Bridge.
The matter was yesterday called in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly. Both Patterson and Adams were absent from yesterday’s hearing. However, one of Patterson’s lawyers, Ronald Burch-Smith was present in court while, Adams’ lawyer, Glenn Hanoman, appeared virtually.
The police prosecutor informed the court that the State is still awaiting the contract in relation to the case. That contract is the one that was awarded to a Dutch company, LievenseCSO, to conduct a feasibility study and design for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge between Houston, East Bank Demerara, and Versailles, West Bank Demerara.
Senior Magistrate Leron Daly then adjourned the matter to May 3, 2021, and on that date, the trial is expected to commence. Kaieteur News had reported that Patterson and Adams are accused of defrauding the State of over $160M.
On Patterson’s and Adams’ first court appearance, they were not required to plead to the charge since it was laid indictably. They were also both placed on $200,000 bail each.
However, on another hearing of the matter, the prosecutor had requested that the charge be laid summarily, so that the matter can be tried in the Magistrate’s Court, as opposed to a preliminary inquiry (PI) being conducted in the Magistrate’s Court before the matter is either sent to the High Court or dismissed.On February 15, 2021, the charge was changed and laid summarily and Patterson and Adams were required to enter a plea after the charge was re-read to them.
Both men pleaded not guilty to the charge, which stated that between November 18, 2016 and February 1, 2018 at Georgetown, they conspired with each other and with other persons unknown, to defraud the DHBC of $162,635,015, funds of the DHBC’s Asphalt Plant Account.
The fraud charge was brought against the duo by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), a branch of the Guyana Police Force (GPF). There is an ongoing probe by SOCU in relation to Patterson’s role in sole-sourcing the Dutch company that was selected to conduct the feasibility study.
After the contract was made public in 2017, the then Opposition, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), had called for a thorough investigation by the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) into the awarding of the contract to the Dutch firm, this later triggered an investigation by SOCU.
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). As a result, the PPC had asked for the tender to be reset. NPTAB had given approval for the project to be retendered, but it was not.
The PPP/C was adamant that the bypassing of the procurement process was illegal, but SOCU later stated that it had sought legal advice, and that there is no evidence that a criminal offence was committed.
Earlier this year, SOCU reopened the case and Patterson and Adams were later called in for questioning by SOCU and the charge was later instituted.
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