The Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) has responded to questions after a furore erupted over the controversial award of a contract to a Dutch company, Lievense CSO, for the $146M feasibility study for the new Demerara River Bridge (DRB). However, the administration’s attempt to clarify the issue has created more of a muddle.
The MPI statement entails a list of the bidders that vied for the contract. The number of contractors according to the statement, is 23 – the same number of contractors listed in the Public Procurement Commissions (PPC)’s report following its investigation into the award.
However, atleast four media houses have reported that on December 8, 2015, there were 22 companies that submitted bids for the project.
In comparing the lists, it was discovered that the “additional” contractor on the government and PPC’s lists, is LievenseCSO.
This means, that the four media houses that reported on the opening of tenders for the project, have no record of LievenseCSO submitting any bids to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) on December 8, 2015.
Yet, the PPC listed the company as amongst those that submitted bids by the deadline (December 8, 2015).
The PPC also categorised the company as making the deadline despite the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, in a Facebook post dated September 22, 2017 saying that a bid from the company “was later received.”
Patterson in that post, has also stated that it was 22 companies that submitted bids for the project.
“Twenty-two firms expressed their interest and 12 of these firms were subsequently shortlisted,” the Minister’s post read.
His ministry and the PPC are now saying 23 companies submitted bids for the project.
The government statements says also, that LievenseCSO was shortlisted for the contract.
The media has no record of the company submitting a bid, which raised questions on how it was shortlisted without submitting a bid.
Guyana Standard understands that any bid that appears at the NPTAB after the deadline for a project, is not considered.
Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo said last week, that there is enough evidence in PPC’s report to launch a full-fledged investigation into the award of the $146M feasibility study contract.
Jagdeo said that his party will be approaching the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to investigate the “unbelievable corruption” that ensued during the award of the works to Lievense CSO.
The Chief Whip of the Party, Gail Teixeira, wrote to the PPC requesting an investigation. The Chairperson of the Commission issued a response and a copy of the report.