AG to advice on action to be taken – audit report highlights discrepancies in Kato Secondary school construction

Georgetown, GINA, July 21, 2016

An audit that was done in three-parts of the construction of the Kato secondary school, Region Eight has highlighted a number of discrepancies. Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman at a post-Cabinet media briefing today, made this disclosure.

“What the findings on the school at Kato revealed is nothing less than criminal,” Minister Trotman said.

According to the Minister, Cabinet received and considered the forensic audit report which was prepared by Rodrigues Architects Limited and presented by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson.

“The report addressed the audit in three sections, structural assessment, building defects and contract administration and highlighted a number of discrepancies in all sections,” Minister Trotman said.

Cabinet examined the roles of the designer consultant, construction and cost of remedial works to be done. The findings have resulted in “Cabinet’s recommendation for the attorney general to review the report and determine culpability, and to advice on appropriate action to be taken,” Minister Trotman said.

Kares Engineering had won the contract for the construction of the school, which when it opened its doors, would have allowed for universal secondary education in the region.

Construction of the school started in 2013 under the previous administration and was scheduled to be opened in January 2016. This was delayed following the discovery of the defects. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on June 30 told the media that the administration, “felt it was not safe to put children into that school.”

News of the defects in the structure of the school was first made public in January, during the consideration of the 2016 estimates and expenditure.

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, responding to questions about the budgeted estimates for Region Eight, was questioned about the school’s opening. In responding, he told the House that this was being delayed due to flaws in the school and that these went beyond the construction of the complex to its design.

Minister Patterson later revealed that a detailed assessment conducted by his Ministry had found that only 10 percent of the concrete works done by the contractor was found to be sound when tested by an independent consultant.

The Kato Secondary was initially billed at $780M but, the previous Government had later disclosed that the final tally could be about $1B.

The school was to be a modern institution, catering for 400 students, of which 250 were to be accommodated in dormitories.

The school also has an adjoining administrative block, teachers’ quarters, kitchen and sanitary facilities, and boasts computer and science laboratories, departments for industrial arts, home economics, visual arts and agriculture apart from one dozen classrooms.

Meanwhile Minister Trotman also informed the media that Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan is working with Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma to decide which of the forensic audit reports into the operation of departments of state and statutory bodies can be brought forward for criminal charges to be laid.

Cabinet received a tech report on the Kato secondary school complex project the report tabled by minister of public infrastructure and tabled by prepared by carried out an audit cabinet noted the … designer consultant and construction of the project and the cost of remedial works cabinet recommended that.

 

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