The Government of Guyana through its Chief Spokesman Dr. Roger Luncheon on Wednesday described the actions by the Indian Construction Firm, Surendra Engineering as a “criminal act”.
The Donald Ramotar Administration has been forced to sever all ties with the Surendra Company for the construction of the Speciality Hospital after it confirmed that financial documents provided to the government that were purported to have come from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago were in fact fraudulent documents that the Surendra Company may have compiled itself on Bank of Trinidad and Tobago letterhead.
The Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank in early September officially informed the Government of Guyana that it had not issued any financial statements or documents as a bond for the Surendra Engineering Company. The embarrassed Guyana cabinet requested additional information and received all confirmation from the Trinidad and Tobago Central Bank.
The Government of Guyana also had issues with the company’s financial standing and several cases of financial irregularities that became known as the deal was moving forward.
The fraud has cost Guyanese taxpayers over G$800 Million that was already doled out to the company as part of its contract for the construction of the multi billion dollar medical facility.
At his weekly press conference, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said despite the problems the project is now facing, the administration still intends to move ahead with the project but under new contractors. He said the “unfortunate episode” should not stop the project, even as he admitted that it is almost impossible for the government to recover the money already paid over to the Surendra Company.
The Government still intends to move to the court to take legal action against Surendra Engineering. Luncheon said once the government was able to confirm the information it had gathered about the company, it acted condignly in revoking the contract. The Indian firm could now find itself being blacklisted from any future work in Guyana.
Asked if the Government had erred in awarding the contract in the first place even in wake of mounting criticism by the Opposition and other interest groups, Luncheon said “its easy to say government erred but when you award contracts, the evaluation process is suppose to provide you with the assurances of a competitive bid and then the bonds suppose to ensure that you are not getting exposed unnecessarily”.
Filed: 10th September, 2014