Minister Teixeira scolds Region 9 RDC for breaching Procurement Act in 2017, 2018
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira, M.P, took the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Nine to task for breaching the Procurement Act under the previous APNU+AFC Government’s reign.
Regional Executive Officer (REO), Karl Singh along with his administrative officers sat before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Monday, where the Council’s 2017 and 2018 financial spending were thoroughly scrutinised.
According to the Auditor General’s Report, a contract was awarded to the highest ranked of nine evaluated bidders at the “corrected bid price” of $10.1 million, to repair a section of the Aishalton Hospital.
The contractor had bid $9.2 million, while the engineer’s estimate was $10.7 million. Nevertheless, it was observed that the project was undertaken by another contractor who had ranked third with the contract sum of $9.9 million. The money was paid in full to the contractor at the end of 2017.
Similarly, the contract for repairs to Potarinau Primary School was awarded to the highest of nine evaluated bidders at the bid price of $5.826 million. The engineer’s estimate was $7.699 million.
However, examination of the contract register revealed that the works were instead undertaken by another contractor, who was not included in the evaluation report.
“What I find very disturbing, you have someone getting the award, and then the second contractor who does the job is doing it almost 60 percent more than what was the lowest bidder, and I think this is a breach of the Procurement Act, and I am surprised the audit didn’t say that. There must be an explanation for this,” Minister Teixeira emphasised.
She said the defects unearthed indicate that the valuators were only assessing without making recommendation, noting that if they had evaluated all of the contractors, the process is not complete until the valuators recommend someone on specific factors.
“And the tender board has to take those factors into consideration. the valuators appear not to be doing their jobs, and I think this is a breach of the procurement Act and it is absolutely unacceptable,” the minister reiterated.
Additionally, Minister Teixeira chided another move by the RDC to inject millions of dollars to construct a bridge in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo district, which she said, is of no standard.
The minister was at the time referring to an $11.6 million contract inked to repair the farm to market road at Parishara Central Rupununi. As part of that project a $5.7 million timber bridge was constructed, but was later found to be substandard, “crooked and had poor quality timber installed.”
Government’s PAC member, Dharamkumar Seeraj, M.P, also pointed out an overpaid sum of $3.4 million which was recovered in an $8.2 million contract, which was awarded to the fifth lowest bidder, to repair sections of the road at St. Ignatius, Central Rupununi.