GUYANA (Mckoy’s News) – Government Officials Earning Millions from Government Awarded Contracts: Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is claiming that a Government Minister is cashing in on millions of dollars on a Guyana Power and Light (GPL) contract that was awarded for rehabilitative works on the company’s distribution network.
Jagdeo claimed the power company, with the blessings of the Minister in question, awarded a contract that was over a billion dollars above the second ranked bidder.
“We heard that a Minister drew down more money on this contract because it’s a US$6 million difference between what they awarded it for and what they should have awarded it for – a substantial sum. And we heard that the GPL money is being used for all sorts of things,” the Opposition Leader told reporters during a press conference at his Church Street, Georgetown office on Wednesday/May 24.
When asked during the press conference to name the Minister whom he is making the allegation against, Jagdeo noted that he will do so only after being in receipt of the supportive documents.
He was referring to the US$23 million (G$4.6 billion) contract awarded to China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation and China Sinogy Electric Engineering Co Limited Consortium for the rehabilitation of the low and medium voltage distribution network for GPL. The contract was reportedly awarded more than $1 billion over the engineer’s estimate and is currently in litigation before the courts.
The rehabilitation of 328km of GPL’s low and medium voltage network is part of the Power Utility Upgrade Programme, which also includes the procurement and installation of smart meters throughout the network, intended to enhance the company’s operational efficiency. The project is being funded through a multibillion-dollar Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and European Union (EU) loan agreement.
Moreover, during Wednesday’s press conference, the Opposition Leader sought to address GPL’s Chairman, Robert Badal, denouncement that there are some $20 billion sitting in one of the company’s accounts.
Jagdeo, at a previous press briefing had contended that the monies were earned, “… because (GPL) did not lower the price of electricity when the price of fuel fell on the world market (proportionate to the drop in fuel prices).”
In fact, he noted that “… (GPL) have collected from ordinary citizens, and our businessmen, some $20B more than they should have collected in two years from us, and it is sitting in an account at GPL.”
In response, however, the Chairman of the power company merely said “…GPL has achieved a significant improvement in its financial position.”
According to Jagdeo on Wednesday, Badal opted not to provide the actual figure since he is cashing in big on the extra earnings.
“I believe he does not want the public to know the figure – because he refused, he said Jagdeo is wrong but I can’t tell you what the figure is – is because they are busy drawing down from the $20 billion through a series of corrupt practices,” he asserted.
The Opposition Leader went on to say, “We heard that the GPL money is being used for all sorts of things… so Badal needs to tell the people of this country how much money is in that account. If I’m wrong and it’s not $20 billion, then how much is in the account and what it was over the last several months so you will see the movement in the amount.
Contributed by Dr Colin O Jarrett