Former attorney general Anil Nandlall has asked that government produce the evaluation report, which, he noted, would showcase that Fedders Lloyd was disqualified from the previous bidding process in relation to the controversial speciality hospital.
“There is a simple way to reconcile the apparent difference of opinion, if it is a difference of opinion, produce the evaluation report. I know that they were disqualified. I know it is a fact that they were disqualified; they were disqualified because they submitted two prices for the same project. I am not in doubt,” Nandlall said at a press conference yesterday at Freedom House.
“Even let us assume they came in second; that procurement process came to an end. There is no principle there is no provision in the Act that allows you to go to the second bidder; not at all you have to begin a procurement process all over again,” he said of the Procurement Act.
Nandlall questioned the legality of issuing a Memorandum of Understanding between Guyana and the Indian company, with regard to the controversy-ridden specialty hospital at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara.
He said, “This hand picking if Fedders Lloyd is outside, ultra vires of the Procurement Act therefore it is unlawful.”
The former AG stated, “The Procurement Act governs Public Procurement in Guyana it relates to every contact over and above a particular sum. This is several million dollars and once the procuring unit is an agent, or a unit, or a department to a ministry of the Government of Guyana then the procurement must fall under the four corners or the ambit of the Procurement Act.
“As I said, Fedders Lloyd might be the best company in the world to do this project. They may have been the best company to have submitted a bid in the first place, but the fact is the law outlines how a person is to be appointed or a company,” Nandlall emphasised.
He said there seems to be even more confusion on the part of Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who seems to believe that an MoU means work can commence. Nandlall noted that the money being used to construct the specialty hospital was by way of a loan from the Indian Exim Bank. He said he could not see the government of India releasing funds to commence construction based on an MoU.
Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira criticized Jordan’s lack of knowledge of the original tender process and the subsequent awarding of the speciality hospital contract. She said the use of language has played a role in the ongoing controversy now that the MOU has been signed. Teixeira stated that since being criticized by analysts such as Christopher Ram and President of the Transparency Institute of Guyana Inc (TIGI) Calvin Bernard the minister has backtracked on his use of the word contract.
The MoU inked by government with Fedders Lloyd to complete the specialty hospital should be cancelled and the bidding process restarted, former auditor general Anand Goolsarran said this week even as he dismissed as “without merit,” the administration’s statement that it approached the Indian firm in the interest of time.
“There is no provision in the Procurement Act for a terminated contractor to be replaced by the next contractor in line based on the original tender evaluation. The MoU with Fedders Lloyd should therefore be cancelled and the bidding process restarted. Indeed, the government has the obligation to uphold the principles of transparency in the award of all public contracts in conformity with the Procurement Act. Any lesser arrangement should be frowned upon,” he said.
He added that the only provision in the Procurement Act that refers to time constraints relates to Section 28 dealing with sole sourcing where “owing to a catastrophic event, there is an urgent need for goods, services or construction, making it impracticable to use other methods of procurement because of the time involved in using other methods.
“The government’s explanation as to the reason for not going back to tender is therefore without merit,” he argued.
In addition to the fact that there was no public tendering for this huge project, Fedders Lloyd had been represented by now Vice President and Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan.