The supplier who handed over the wrong bulldozer to the Region Six council in January has been given until June to make amends.
K and P Project Management’s supply of the wrong type of bulldozer and a used one at that has raised questions about how the East Berbice/ Corentyne Regional Democratic Council (RDC) conducts its business.
Some $15M was approved in the 2017 budget for the purchase of the machine in an effort to assist farmers in the region. However, when the machine arrived at the Regional Democratic Council compound in January this year it was observed that it was used and was partially covered in mud. Initially the supplier after meeting with the Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Six, Kim Stephens was given two months to supply the correct machine or return the money.
However, as of yesterday the RDC learnt that the man has now been given up to June to supply a new machine.
Regional Chairman, David Armogan, said the line of action to take now, which was recommended by the RDC is for him to supply a bond in the form of a manager’s cheque because “If he doesn’t deliver a proper machine, or take back the machine then we can confiscate the bond”.
Armogan said it was a situation that was allowed to escalate at the level of the administration, noting that all machines should be certified by competent persons before being handed over to the region.
“The man should not have been paid unless the bulldozer was certified”, that was the first mistake that was made the chairman told Stabroek News.
According to Armogan, the alternative course of action is to file legal proceedings against the supplier.
Initially, the RDC was told that no money was paid to the supplier. However, Armogan said that it was disappointing that the RDC was misinformed, since after checking the records it was discovered that the money was actually paid over to K and P Project Management. An apology was made for the mistake, “what was called an oversight”, Armogan noted.
Noting that it was the REO who signed the voucher, Armogan said “I don’t know if she didn’t remember or if it was deliberate. That is a judgement that has to be made by an individual, my position is that we were misinformed and then she subsequently corrected that”.
Armogan further explained that when the matter first came up and it was realized that the supplier provided a machine different from what was stipulated in the contract, he was told that that “would have been a violation of the contract”. He said yesterday, “It doesn’t seem the contract was null and void because there seemed to be new developments taking place with regards to the same old contract”.
Pressed on the matter, the chairman said the REO is responsible since “at the end of the day, I have to be advised by the REO. They are the people who deal with payment of monies and so on because they have to account for it. I can ask questions about financing of the region but when you are given wrong answers you are not sure until later on when you find out”.
Meanwhile, although the region seems to be extending the grace period for the supplier, REO Stephens wrote Chairman Armogan asking that Regional Councillor, Haseef Yusuf, who wrote several letters to the newspapers highlighting the bulldozer issue, give evidence at this month’s statutory meeting supporting his claim.
Yusuf at March’s statutory meeting questioned the bond, which the REO had reportedly claimed was in place. However, since the REO was absent from March’s meeting, no firm answer was provided. Yusuf then took to highlighting the issue of the bond, along with several other matters within the region with other agencies.
The regional councillor at yesterday’s meeting said, “I wrote in this letter that we were told that the supplier had signed a bond to the value of $15M and should the supplier fail to replace the bulldozer then the bond should be forfeited”.
Meanwhile, in the letter written to the chairman, which was circulated to the entire council, including a performance bond dated March 14, Yusuf said, “It means then that this bond is for the new contract for the bulldozer to be supplied … this (bond) does not cover that bulldozer that is sitting out there, there was no bond for that bulldozer and that was the bond I was asking about”, he stressed.
Yusuf further highlighted, that he sought to clarify matters about the bond which was alluded to by the regional accounting officer in February, however, this bond is now dated March 14.
The councillor further highlighted that initially the RDC was told that the supplier would have two months to supply a new machine, however, as the two months elapsed he has now been given up to June.
Regional Vice Chairman, Denis Deroop, who also spoke on the matter at the statutory meeting yesterday explained, that Yusuf merely questioned the previous bond which was alluded to by the REO. However, “That bond was not provided, I want to ask if there was a bond there, it seems that the there was none then, now we are saying a new bond, I want to ask if the Regional Administration entered into another contract with the supplier because this bond cover another particular period from March – June”.
Deroop stressed that the supplier is using the taxpayers’ money while farmers are suffering since work is not being done on the dams in the region.
As of yesterday the bulldozer remained outside of the region’s compound in Vryman’s Erven, New Amsterdam.