Nevpro Realization Limited, a Jamaican company, former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, his Permanent Secretary Balraj Balram, and his Engineer/Manager Lawrence Mentis have all been slapped with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit by the State over the purchase of three weigh-in-motion scales.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, is seeking $50,000,000 from the Jamaican company for loss and damage suffered as a result of the breach of the contract dated December 6, 2016, for the supply and delivery of three Mettler Toledo Weight-in-Motion Scales.
In a State of Claim filed in the High Court, the AG is also seeking liquidated damages against the company in the sum of $7,245,000, calculated at 10% of the contract price for breach of contract.
Alternatively, the Minister wants an order against the company for the restitution of all monies received as full payment under the contract.
Against Patterson, his Permanent Secretary, and his Engineer/Manager Lawrence Mentis, Minister Nandlall is seeking damages in excess of $50 million for loss and damage suffered as a result of negligence to the State.
Moreover, the AG is asking for $50 million against the trio for loss and damage suffered as a result of the misfeasance in public office.
Further, he is asking another $50 million against the trio for loss and damage suffered as a result of the misuse, misapplication, and improper disposal of public sums of money contrary to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, Cap 73:02, Laws of Guyana.
Additionally, the AG is in quest of $100,000 million against all the defendants for aggravated, exemplary damages.
On this backdrop, Minister Nandlall is asking for other Orders the Court deems just and reasonable as well as prescribed costs.
In court documents, the AG revealed that a director for the Jamaican company was the campaign manager of the coalition of A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU +AFC) for the 2015 General and Regional Elections and was closely associated with the AFC, which Patterson is a founding member.
Guyana Standard understands that for the fiscal year 2016, $631,700,000 was allocated, through public funding, to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, under Project code 1902800: Sub-Head – Equipment, for the purchase of road building equipment for the Special Projects.
As a result, on November 1, 2016, the Ministry invited suppliers through the National Competitive Bidding and Restricted Tendering method of procurement, to bid for the procurement of 14 different Lots of specified goods, which included three Mettler Toledo Weight-In-Motion Scales.
The November 2016 Evaluation Report for the Supply and Delivery of Goods to the Ministry, in relation to the said bid, listed “El Dorado Trading,” as the only bidder for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales – that company made a bid of $10,200,000.
However, El Dorado Trading was disqualified from the tender procedure on account of its submission of a fraudulent manufacture’s authorisation for the supply and delivery of another Lot within the same tender procedure.
As a consequence, El Dorado Trading was ineligible for the award of the contract for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales.
As a result of the foregoing, rather than inviting suppliers again, the AG said that the Permanent Secretary on December 6, 2016, entered into a contract with Nevpro Realization Limited for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales.
“The Third Named Defendant never formally invited the First Named Defendant to bid for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales in accordance with the provisions of the Procurement Act,” Minister Nandlall said in court documents.
He added that on December 13, 2016, the PS sent a letter to the former Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board Berkely Wickham requesting a “waiver of the Tender Board Procedures and for the purchase through sole-sourcing” of the Motion Scales from the company.
The AG contends that Balram did not advance or satisfy any of the conditions set out in the Procurement Act, as a reason for the request to use the Single-Source Procurement Procedure for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales in his letter.
On March 15, 2018, more than one year after the 90 days, six packages purporting to be the Motion Scales were shipped to Guyana by Nevpro, only three out of the six packages were found at the Laparkan Trading Ltd, storage bond in Georgetown.
“None of the packages were opened to verify that the contents of the packages actually were the Motion Scales or components of the Motion Scales,” the AG said.