52 scandals under APNU/AFC
exposed will be close to $1Billionfor a one day event.
8) September to December 2015
The President pardoned over 100 convicted felons in 2015 and stated that this would be done annually. He promised that these would be felons with non-violent crimes and juvenile offenders. In fact this was not true. A number of these persons had been sentenced for violent crimes and a number of them are back in prison.
The parliamentary opposition questioned the criteria and process used to select these persons who were pardoned but the Speaker denied the questions being put “as an abuse of questioning”.
9) late last December 2015
The RUDISA case at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the pay out to RUDISA- The APNU and AFC twice caused the defeat in the 10th Parliament of attempts by the PPPC government to amend the Customs Act in order to pre-empt the case going to the CCJ and save the country millions of US dollars.
The APNU+AFC Coalition government settled to repay the entire amount of RUDISA USD$16M claim without any negotiations for a debt repayment schedule and despite the fact that the company owed and appears to still owe millions of dollars in taxes to Guyana.
The first payment to RUDISA was made late last year and the second budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.
10) September 2015 – April 2016
Hundreds of Millions of dollars spent by the Government and the Georgetown Mayor and City Council on the “Clean Up Campaign” in the city with no public tendering and handpicked companies. In some cases, new companies were created with no experience to facilitate this corruption. There has been no accountability of the amount of monies spent and the Mayor and Town Clerk have rebuffed efforts to allow the Auditor General’s office to do a forensic audit.
11) March/April 2016
The write off of debts owed to Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the nation by DDL worth billions of dollars (April 2016).If DDL did not issue a press release announcing the write off this would not have been known.
12) April 2016
Other writes off of debts to the GRA by other companies, who financed the APNU+AFC Coalition electoral campaign, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Minister Trotman said these companies have to be compensated for their financial investment during the election campaign to the APNUAFC Coalition.
13) April 2016
Following the March 18, 2016 Local Government Elections, Minister Bulkan in violation of the stat- utes governing the local government system, appointed the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and the 5 Chairpersons and vice chairpersons of the 5 NDCs in the 6 tied Local Authority Areas (LAAs). All of these persons were APNU although there was a plurality of votes in 3 of the 6 tied LAAs for the PPP and 3 for the APNU+AFC.
( Update note: The matter was taken to court and has not been heard yet, 2017)
14) April-May 2016
Write offs by the APNU+AFC dominated Georgetown Municipal Council to many companies for millions of dollars owed in rates and taxes for undisclosed amounts. This is a City Council that is now cash- strapped and cannot pay contractors for garbage collection nor timely payment of salaries of its employees.
The cost to the Treasury of these write offs by the GRA, Georgetown Municipal Council and other Local Authority Areas alone earmarked in this list of scandals is estimated to be between 23% to 36 % of the total 2016 Budget.
15) April 2016- present (October 2016)
Parking meters contract-with no public tendering, no involvement of the Georgetown City Council, no consultation with the citizens – the scandal deepens, even as the APNU+AFC Georgetown Mayor is being advised to do some damage control by attempting to amend the 49 year contract and make it less embarrassing for the government. (Update Note: In 2017 it was paused due to the public outcry and the vibrant citizens’ initiative, Movement against the Parking Meters. Recent statements by the Town Clerk that the meters will be in operation soon, has brought issue back on the agenda).
16) July-August 2016
The 3 year Pharmacy Bond contract between the Ministry of Public Health and the Linden Holding Company was not tendered for by Minister Dr Norton’s own admission on the floor of the National Assembly. The PPP/C will be submitting its motion of privilege calling for the Speaker to send the Minister of Public Health to the Privilege Committee for wilfully misleading the National Assembly and the nation. (Update note: Minister was taken before the Privilege Committee chaired by the Speaker and to date the issue has not been addressed by the majority APNUAFC dominated committee)
17) January 2016-August 2016
The GoG/ BK International settlement of $1.17 B for Haggs Bosche-The Ministry of Communities’ settlement of $1.17B to BK International for the Haags Bosche project came to light as a result of a Supplementary Financial Paper on August 8th 2016 where the country learnt that this settlement was made and would be paid in three tranches, even though the court did not award costs to BK Int’l. The government paid BK Int’l the first third of the payment in January 2016 which begs the question - where did this money come from? It was not provided for in the 2015 budget, nor was there any SFP in the interim nor in the 2016 Budget or since to cover this first payment of G$500M. The August Supplementary Financial Paper covers the payment of the second tranche of $501M to BK int’l from the Consolidated Fund. The third payment the Minister stated would be reflected in the 2017 budget. This is a scandal like the RUDISA and the DDL write offs.
Interesting and of note is that BK International is being paid the entire $10 MUSD for the contract though BK Int’l only worked for 3 of the 5 years of the contract at substandard work. The PPP/C government had terminated the contract due to substandard work and delays. Ministers Bulkan and Patterson late 2015 both publicly stated that BK Int’l had done substandard work on the project!
18) April and August 2016
Two (2) Fuel scandals relating to the issuance of fuel licenses for the importation of fuel to companies that are made up of persons related to top officials or who are top officials themselves in the government who have no fuel bonds, no storage facilities and no offices.
The withdrawal of the fuel importation license to the Chinese company which has invested millions of US dollars for storage facilities appears to have been calculated to make room for these alternative importers.
In August the second set of fuel licenses came to light regarding licenses issued to Dr. Van West Charles, CEO of Guyana Water Inc and other officials under the name of a private company.
It should be noted that an applicant for a fuel license has to acquire an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and 4 additional licences-----provision of a bond under detailed specifications, transportation, storage, importation, and restrictions on where fuel storage can be located. It normally takes a long time for an applicant to obtain all these licenses---impossible to do so in 9 months. The licenses were issued in the month that Van West Charles became CEO GWI and therefore he had ample time to remove himself from the company.
The media is reminded that right here at the parliamentary opposition weekly press briefing several months ago, we had exposed this gentlemen’s role in soliciting donations for pipes for the wells in Region 9. As of today, the Brazilian contractors hired by GWI to dig 8 wells in the Rupununi region are unable to pay their workers as they allege that GWI is not paying them (the contractors).
19) August 2016
Consistent and frequent violation of the Procurement Act by line ministries-- eg the Minister of Agriculture admitted that the MOA nor the NDIA had gone out to tender for works totalling $234M due to emergency works for El Nino and flooding in regions 2,3,4, 5,6, 8, 10. In fact these monies should have been provided for in the SPF # 2 of 2016 from the Consolidated Fund.
20) July and August 2016
Requests for information during questions to Ministers and questions during the debate on the 2 SFPs on August 8th 2016 revealed that the govt ministers’ will not release contracts unless they have the permission of the other person/ company/party to the contract. This is unheard of and a violation of the role of the legislature under the constitution to hold the government accountable.
21) September 2016
Undermining the judicial process- the establishment of a Presidential Tribunal to inquire, investigate and recommend whether Carvil Duncan, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, should be removed from office for inability to discharge his duties.
Since the charges against Mr Duncan are still pending before a Magistrate of the Georgetown Magistrate’s court, the establishment of this tribunal is premature, pre-emptive and repugnant to the very “due process” to which the President says that his Administration is committed. ( Update note: one of the matters still in court; remember during this case, the AG Basil Williams confrontation with Justice Holder and the refusal of the Minister to apologise; an example of interference and bullying of the judiciary).
22) September 2016
The Auditor General’s special audit of GECOM’s expenditure in 2015 prior to the general and regional elections—this is on-going, with the use of sole sourcing by the GECOM estimated to amount to $700M in the months prior to the May 2015 elections. However, unlike in other investigations where the heads were sent on administrative leave such as the Head of NICIL, Head of the NDIA, PS of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, head of the Public Hospital Georgetown, to name a few, this CEO has not been sent off on administrative leave.(silence on findings)
23) February – September 2016
$240 M spent on refurbishing the Kitty Market. Photographic evidence exposes the corruption by City Hall. There are no scope of works, estimates, etc that are available and the project was not put to tender as the city has hired the workers and is implementing the works itself. (Update note as of August 2017, a year and half later the market remains closed and works incomplete) 24) September 2016
The awarding of the contract for boxed juices for the school feeding programme to a Surinamese beverage company owned by RUDISA that was not the lowest or even the second lowest received bid. The impact on the local farmers and manufacturers will be felt. DDL has come out publicly to criticise this, so too, has another local company, Guyana Beverages.
25) September 2016
Award of the contract for quarry stone to a Surinamese company for the CJIA expansion project will have tremendous impact on the local quarries. Toolsie Persaud, one of the stone producers, has protested. There is more to come to light on this issue and this we have earmarked as an emerging scandal where government needs to provide answers.
The media will observe that we have not dealt with the discriminatory dismissals of hundreds of employers in the public service and in the state entities on the basis of their ethnic and assumed political affiliation which started in June 2015 and is continuing unabated. This we shall deal with in detail at another press briefing with facts.
In summary t herefore by month:
2- May 2015
5- July/December 2015 1-September 2015 to April 2016 2- December 2015- May 2016 5- March/May 2016 5- July/August 2016
5- September 2016
These scandals which have been uncovered expose a level of corruption and discrimination that has not been seen since the Burnham era. The APNU+AFC government lacks transparency and accountability, and is prepared to undermine and even violate the procurement and financial laws of this country as well as other constitutional provisions and statutory provisions”
That was what we exposed in October 2016, 25 scandalous scandals and scams.
And the “scandalous scandals” continue unabated. The government with their one seat majority believes that they can get away with the lack of transparency and accountability and down-right nepotism and corruption with tax payers’ money.
Since the October 2016 report, the number has doubled from 25 to 52 by August 16, 2017. You don’t believe me ? Here they are ( and let me add l may have missed a few or there are those we don’t know about yet):
26. Chicken importation licenses to non existent/ non registered companies.
27. The Removal of 6,000 solar panels purchased for the Hinterland Household Electrification Programme and re-allocating them for use at the Ministry of the Presidency and State House.