Nov 10, 2022 News
– Auditor General report flags discrepancy, calls for probe
Kaieteur News – In his 2021 report, the Auditor General (AG) Deodat Sharma, highlighted that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Nine had awarded eight contracts to a local contractor who is currently blacklisted up to the year 2030 by the Public Procurement Commission of Guyana (PPC).
The contractor, Kaieteur News was told is Vevakanand Dalip Enterprise (V.Dalip Enterprise), who according to the PPC website is based in Lethem, Region Nine. According to the AG report, it was discovered that the RDC in 2021, awarded eight contracts totalling $106.8 million to the blacklisted contractor.
The eight contracts, the AG listed are as follow: construction of bridge at Kabanawau Creek, Deep South Rupununi which was awarded to the tune of $29,661,000 on May 17, 2021; repairs to section of road at Shiriri Village, South Central Rupununi which was awarded to the tune of $13,976,000 on March 22, 2021; repairs to road at Aranaputa, North Rupununi which was awarded to the tune of $14,000,000 on March 22, 2021, repairs to section of road at Toka, North Rupununi to the tune of $7,900,000 on May 13, 2021; and the construction of bridge at Yupukari, Central Rupununi to the tune of $11,429 on April 14, 2021.
The AG noted the date of award were not seen for three of the contracts that is the repairs to section of road at Yupukari which was awarded to the tune of $12,319,000; upgrading to section of road at Yupukari which was awarded to the of $5,638,000 and upgrading to section of road at Kumu Village which was awarded to the tune of $11,907,000.
Kaieteur News had reported that in addition to receiving a local suspension, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had also barred Vevakanand Dalip Enterprises and Vevakanand Dalip, its principal from participating in IDB contracts, for the period December 29, 2017 to December 28, 2030.
Dalip was blacklisted by the IDB for “Fraudulent and Collusive Practices”.
Dalip, reportedly based in Lethem, Region Nine, has been bidding for state contracts.
Though it is not the first time that a local contractor and individual has been barred by IDB, it must be noted that the institution is one of the biggest funders of government projects. Debarred firms are declared ineligible to be awarded and participate in any IDB-financed contract for the periods indicated. Ineligibility may extend to any firm or individual who directly or indirectly controls the debarred firm or any firm which the debarred firm directly or indirectly controls. In the case of a debarred individual, ineligibility may extend to any firm which the debarred individual directly or indirectly controls,” IDB explains on its website.
In relation to receiving contracts while being blacklisted, last year December, V. Dalip Enterprise was awarded an $889 million contract by the Ministry of Housing and Water to execute works at Lot 2 of the new $13.3 billion four-lane Eccles to Great Diamond highway. Responding to the Auditor’s findings, it was noted in the report that the RDC stated that the Head of the Budget Agency- Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, has indicated that this matter will be investigated. In this regard, the Audit Office has recommended that the Head of Budget Agency investigate the matter highlighted and desist from awarding contracts to blacklisted contractors.
Commenting on some of the findings of the AG report, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Parliamentarian, Ganesh Mahipaul in a statement said that the Annual Report on the Public Accounts of Guyana and on the accounts of Ministries/ Departments/ Regions for the financial year 2021 show massive corruption, gross disrespect for financial laws and incompetency in the management of taxpayers’ dollars. The lack of transparency and accountability were well documented and noted, he said.
According to Mahipaul, “these, among many other financial irregularities and abnormalities were unearthed and I am sure when the Accounting Officers appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), we will find lots more. But with the current attitude of the Government side on the PAC, noting that it is them who changed the quorum of PAC to give them full control in deciding whether a PAC can be held or not, it is my conclusion that the PPP/C government will continue to slow down the meetings of the PAC by way of absenting themselves and curtailing the hours of work with a clear intent to not examine their years of massive corruption, gross disrespect for financial laws and incompetency in the management of taxpayers’ dollars.”
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