Contract awarded again for start of works on new health ministry head office

Cleon Chung (left), Chief Executive Officer of Chung’s Global Enterprise and Collette Adams when the contract was signed in 2017.

Cabinet last Tuesday at its Sub-Committee noted the award of a $356 million contract for the first phase of construction of the Ministry of Public Health’s head office at Lot 1 Brickdam, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said last Friday.

Harmon said during a post-Cabinet press briefing that the contract was awarded to Chung’s Global Enterprise.

This contract is almost identical in detail and amount to a contract awarded in 2017 to Chung’s Global Enterprise.

That contract was signed in November, 2017. The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Collette Adams, who presided over the signing with contractor, Cleon Chung, Chief Executive Officer, had said then that the building would be a steel-framed concrete structure, which is expected to house the ministers’ secretariat and other departments of the ministry at the said location. The work was due to last one year, with the same defects liability period.

In his 2017 report, which was presented to the Parliament at the end of September, 2018, the Auditor General had pointed out that almost a year after that contract was signed, the construction of the new head office was at a standstill despite an advance payment of $71.365 million

“At the time of the physical verification on 13 August 2018, nine months after the signing of the contract, only piles for the foundation of the building have been driven at the site… In addition, only two workers were seen on site despite the fact that the works were significantly behind schedule. Also, only one piece of equipment was noted and there was no material present, even though the contractor had received the advance payment …,” the report said.

In examining the ministry’s accounts, the Audit Office said that included in the amount of $164.198 million allocated for reconstruction of ministry’s head office was an amount of $71.365 million, which represents payment for a contract awarded in the sum of $365.487 million by the National Procure-ment and Tender Adminis-tration Board for the first phase of construction works.

According to a table included in the report, $164 million was set aside for the reconstruction of the complex, a car park, fence, guard hut and electrical works.

The start date was noted as 14 days after the signing of the contract but this was subject to the details of the order to commence, the report said, before adding that on November 27th, 2017, the contractor received an advance payment of $71.365 million, representing 20% of the contract sum.

In response, the ministry pointed out that though the contract was signed on November 8th, 2017, the contractor was given his commencement order on July 19th, 2018. According to the response, prior to the commencement order, the contactor was engaged in site preparation works and the relocation of the ministry’s assets to make the site available for construction; construction of a bridge ($7.793 million); removal of derelict vehicles and equipment ($1.026 million); supply of a 40ft container ($1.368 million); supply and installation of a signboard ($1.493 million); construction of a transport office ($7.922 million); and construction of a pump room and installation of pressurized plumbing system ($3.420 million).

Despite efforts, this newspaper was unable to get clarity from Chung’s Global Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Harmon also said disclosed last Friday that the contract for the construction of a ‘Drop-in Centre, at Block ‘C,’ Sophia has been increased from $181.2 million to $219 million. The contractor is P.D. Contracting.

He further disclosed that a contract for the construction of a Visitor’s Gallery and security hut at the Indian Immigration monument, Palmyra, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six) had been increased by more than $9 million. The contract was awarded to Kascon Engineering Service

Additionally, under the Guyana Revenue Autho-rity, contracts were awarded to Chaz Engineering Consultancy in the sum of $22 million for the construction of living quarters at New Amsterdam; to Andre Vincente Construc-tion Service in the sum of $124.8 million for the construction of a storage bond at Corriverton; and again to Andre Vincente Con-struction Service in the sum of $23 million for the construction of living quarters at Linden.

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