Feb 10, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – Days after it was revealed that the contract between China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC) and Guyana, to build the $53.7B New Demerara River Bridge has been terminated, Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo has taken the spot light for allegations of massive corruption and bribery with the Chinese.
During a recent interview with the American news agency, Vice News, Jagdeo was asked whether he accepts bribes and specifically by Chinese companies seeking infrastructure and other development projects in Guyana.
In a stuttering response, the Vice President explained that the allegations were false.
The journalist asked, “What about in your government? Do you accept bribes?” Jagdeo said, “No I don’t,” after which the reporter explained that after speaking with numerous Chinese sources, information is pointing to “bribery” as the only way to get business done locally.
“We’ve spoken to a number of Chinese business people in Guyana who said that you do accept bribes. In fact, they said it’s the only way to get business done…to bribe you. One Chinese businessman we talked to involving timber logging told us that basically, as long as the Vice President is okay with it, its fine. He just needs to get one phone call to whoever is in charge and they’ll get it done right away. The real big boss is the Vice President. Everything goes under the table. The whole country is like this,” she said while quoting her source.
In response the VP said, “I can’t comment on that” proffering that it was a mere anonymous person who made the allegations, which could have even been fabricated by the media group.
He went on to say that if the source was named, it would have substantiated the allegation.
The journalist then questioned Dr. Jagdeo about his relationship with a Chinese national named ‘Su’. The Vice President affirmed that he is a friend of the gentleman who happens to be his tenant.
“Su? Oh Su? My relationship? Nothing. He is a tenant in my place, yeah. He is a friend of ours. His father was here from many years ago,” the VP fumbled.
The American reporter then went on to explain that Su said through his relationship with Dr. Jagdeo, he is able to get any deal done. “Su told us that if you want to get anything done in Guyana, you need some hookups. I’m very close friends with the Vice President and the other officials. The Vice President and I share a very close relationship. Also if we do the business, he’ll help out no matter what…he’s really treating us as close brothers. He’s already trying to help us as much as possible. Of course I need to give back to him in return,” she said, while regurgitating what was reportedly said to her.
While Jagdeo said he is unaware of the “giving back” aspect, he said his business style extends to not only China, but any other company that approaches him to invest.
“I help out as many people as I can. That’s totally accurate what you read there, unbelievably accurate. It’s accurate. So I help people out but it doesn’t mean for consideration. It does not mean for bribe because I believe that we have a mission to help as many people as possible (to) move forward in this country,” the VP stated.
The reporter however, went on to point out to Dr. Jagdeo that the agency is in receipt of copies of contracts between Chinese companies and ‘Su’, whom she referred to as the “middle man”, that have been used to keep the VP’s hands clean.
“Su has shown us very lucrative contracts between himself and Chinese state-run operations to develop big infrastructure projects in Guyana. He told us that China State Construction Engineering Corporation helped the Chinese company to make a deal. Up to now they pay me $500,000…”
Again, Jagdeo declined to comment, saying that the allegations were false.
He then suggested that the Integrity Commission, which is yet to be installed should probe the allegations. He said, “The best way to do this is not to have me investigated, but write the Integrity Commission. The Integrity Commission should get all of this. They should be able to access what my assets are then see if I can’t account for any of the assets.”
On Tuesday evening, the Vice President hosted a press conference to convince the nation he is not corrupt or involved in the bribery allegations.
New DHB contract
The Chinese company, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited (CSCEC), which was listed as one of the beneficiaries of underhand business with the VP, recently had a contract to build the four-land high span bridge across the Demerara River terminated.
During his interview, Jagdeo suspected, “Maybe the Chinese company that did not get their agreement that they wanted here, maybe they are the ones who told you, or, it could be just a fictitious thing.”
CSCEC was selected to construct the bridge since government found the company’s bid to be the most impressive, during the procuring process. In fact, Cabinet gave its no-objection to the project back in November last year.
The Chinese company submitted the lowest bid, to the tune of US$256,638,289 under the Design-Build-Finance (DBF) model.
Nonetheless, it was only a few days ago that government concluded the company’s bid was no longer favourable.
During the interview Jagdeo said, “we have just terminated the negotiations with them (CSCEC) because the cost of financing is too high.”
To this end, he signalled that the second lowest bidder would have been engaged. In October last year tenders were received from four companies for the construction of the new Bridge.
The firms were China Gezhouba Group Company Limited, which submitted two financial proposals of US$387,566,116 and US$491,810,000, China Road and Bridge Corporation in joint venture with Peutes and Calzadas Infrastructuras SLU (China and Spain) which submitted bids US$340,698,473 and US$ 364,160,202, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited which submitted a bid of US$256,638,289, and China Railway Construction Corporation International Limited who is in joint venture with China Railway Caribbean Company Limited; and China Railway Engineering Bureau Group Company Limited submitted three financial proposals of US$260,852,464, US$260,852,464 and US$300,000,000.
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