PPP/C MP Juan Edghill on Tuesday wrote the Chairman of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) Carol Corbin calling for an investigation into the award of contracts and payments of public monies to Homestretch Development Inc. (HDI) as it relates to the Jubilee D’Urban Park Development Project, Homestretch Avenue.
Edghill’s letter followed another last week to the PPC seeking an investigation into the controversial Charlestown bond contract to Larry Singh.
The more than one billion dollars spent on the D’Urban Park project has not only raised concerns about the expenditure but the circumstances under which goods and services were supplied to one of the earliest APNU+AFC projects. It appeared to have proceeded without any tendering and was also the scene of shoddy construction work and inferior materials. Public monies had to be spent to repair the poor work. Very little paperwork has been presented by the government on the project and sums are said to still be outstanding to some suppliers.
A copy of Edghill’s letter follows:
Reference:REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATION INTO THE AWARD OF CONTRACTS AND PAYMENT OF PUBLIC MONIES TO HOMESTRETCH DEVELOPMENT INC. (HDI) AS IT RELATES TO THE JUBILEE DURBAN PARK DEVELOPMENT PROJECT, HOMESTRETCH AVENUE.
I write you on behalf of the Parliamentary Opposition PPP/C to request that your commission acting under Article 212 AA (1) (h), (i) and (j) of the Constitution of Guyana investigate the above named project.
This project was announced to be a privately financed undertaking.
The development of the D’Urban Park Project started in September 2015 in preparation for the hosting of the 50th Independence Anniversary Jubilee Celebrations.
The National Assembly was informed that this project would be funded by private individuals through an unnamed private organization, and, that this project would be no drain on the public purse. There were no specified budgetary provisions in the 2015 and 2016 Annual Budgets for the Jubilee Durban Park Development Project.
However, from September 2015 to January 22nd, 2016, there was no account of what monies were collected, who collected these and who authorised the collection, nor how these were spent. Government had promised to account for the donations received, but this was not done.
On April 21, 2016, President David Granger mandated the Minister of Public Infrastructure to immediately assume full responsibility for the D’urban Park Development Project.
Subsequently, in November 2016, public monies – a total of $406.7M – were sought from the Contingency Fund and were approved by the majority in the National Assembly to pay contractors and suppliers of goods and services for work done at the project.
In December 2016, an additional $500 from the Consolidated Fund was sought by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and approved by the majority. We were told in the Committee of Supply of the National Assembly that the sums approved would be given to the Homestretch Development Inc. (HDI), a special purpose company, to honour its financial obligations to contractors and suppliers. This is the first time that the name of this company was made public. The company was registered on January 22nd, 2016 and its number is 8247. The registered address is Lot 18 Lamaha Street.
From its inception to April 21st, 2016, the private company, HDI, had control of financing and managing the project.
From April 22nd, 2016 to June 2017, it is estimated that public monies amounting to GYD $1.5 Billion have been spent on the project.
We look forward to your investigation addressing, but not limited to, the following:-
1. The procurement process for contracts awarded to facilitate works on this project, prior to April 21, 2016 and up to June 30, 2017;
2. Can a private company without any procurement process engage contractors and then request and receive public monies for funding these contracts?
3. Does our Procurement Act bind government-owned and controlled Special Purpose Companies (SPC) to follow its procurement rules?
4. Was there a budgeted and actual cost for every completed phase of the project? Was there a projected final cost for the overall project?
5. What payments were made to individuals, contractors and companies as it relates to this project and what liabilities, if any, to individuals, contractors and companies were owed for works and services up to June 2017?
6. Was there any illegality or mismanagement of this project? And if so, what remedial actions are recommended?
7. What measures will be taken to prevent such re-occurrences in the future?
We anticipate an independent and thorough review and await your findings.
Bishop Juan A. Edghill, M.P.
For the People’s Progressive Party / Civic (PPP/C)