The Opposition People’s Progressive Party has written to the Chairperson of the Public Procurement Commission, Mrs Carol Corbin calling for an investigation into the award of a contract by the Ministry of Public Health to the Linden Holdings Incorporated for the Sussex Street Bond.
In the letter Dated September 25th and penned by PPP Parliamentarian Juan Edghill, the Party is asking the Commission under article 212 AA (1) (h),(i), and (j) of the Constitution of Guyana to investigate the project.
“Public information is that the contract for this bond was sole-sourced. Significant sums of public monies are continually being expended on its rental and other operational costs,” the letter noted.
The PPP said on August 23, 2016, an unsigned copy of the contract was released to the public
The contract shows that the rental is for “office space” and not a bond for the storage of pharmaceuticals.
“In spite of the public statements made by the Minister of Public Health in the National Assembly and the specially appointed Cabinet Sub-Committee that the Bond is PAHO/WHO compliant, the contract makes for no such stipulation. The contract also includes exceedingly generous conditions for the landlord for three years and includes a twelve-month notice of termination,” the letter added.
The issue with the Sussex Street Bond facility came up for the first time in the National Assembly on August 8, 2016, when the Committee of Supply examined the supplementary provisions requested by the Government for money for several state agencies and projects.
The National Assembly debated an allocation of some $87.5M – $25M already spent as a security deposit and $12.5M representing monthly rentals from August to December 2016. The sums were paid to the Linden Holding Inc.
Edghill reminded that a Ministerial Sub-Committee had recommended that the contract is renegotiated.
“With no further action by the government, on January 16, 2017, following the news of Minister Volda Lawrence taking responsibility of Public Health, the People’s Progressive Party repeated its call for the drug bond contract to be rescinded.”
Despite this call, to date, the Ministry continues to rent the Sussex Street facility.
As such the opposition is calling for an urgent investigation into this contract.
The Party hopes that the review will provide clarity on who made the decision to sole source and under what circumstances, and what was the emergency referred to by the Minister. Additionally, it seeks to find out how the company’s primary director, Larry Singh, was made aware that a drug bond was needed and how was the Linden Holdings Inc engaged to ink a contract.
The Party also wants to know how was a contract for a bond for the storage of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies sole-sourced from an entity that did not own and/or operate such a facility, why did the contract stipulate rental of “office space” and not rental of a pharmaceutical bond, was this price fair as it relates to market value for similar such facilities, are the taxpayers getting value for money.
Additionally, the PPP had raised concerns on whether the facility is operating according to WHO/PAHO standards and the breaches, if any, that took place in the procurement process.