AG files legal actions against Patterson, NevPro and others

Attorney General Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, MP, filed legal actions against NevPro Realization Limited of Jamaica, and Former Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, amongst others due to a breach of contract.

The other respondents on the statement of claim are former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Balraj Balram, and the ministry’s former Head of the Special Projects Unit, Lawrence Mentis.

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Based on the documents seen by this publication on behalf of the state, the attorney general is claiming from NevPro Realization Limited of Jamaica, damages in excess of fifty million Guyana dollars (GYD $50,000,000) for loss and damage suffered as a result of the breach of contract dated the 6th day of December, 2016, for the supply and delivery of three (3) Mettler Toledo Weight-in-Motion Scales.

Along with liquidated damages in the sum of seven million two hundred and forty-five thousand Guyana dollars (GYD $7,245,000), calculated at ten percent (10%) of the contract price for breach of contract dated the 6th day of December, 2016.

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In addition to that, he is also seeking damages in excess of fifty million Guyana dollars (GYD 50,000,000) for loss and damage suffered as a result of the misfeasance in public office, from David Patterson, Balraj Balram and Lawrence Mentis.

Also damages in excess of fifty million Guyana dollars (GYD $50,000,000) for loss and damages suffered as a result of negligence to the State of Guyana.

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And damages in excess of fifty million Guyana dollars (GYD $50,000,000) for loss and damage suffered as a result of the misuse, misapplication and improper disposal of public money.

The attorney general is also seeking $50M for aggravated damages and exemplary damages.

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According to Nandlall for the fiscal year of 2016, a sum of six hundred and thirty-one million, seven hundred thousand Guyana dollars (GYD $631,700,000) was allocated, through public funding, to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, under Project code 1902800: Sub-Head – Equipment, for the purchase of road building equipment for the Special Projects Unit of the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

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Hence, on the 1st day of November, 2016, the Ministry invited suppliers through the National Competitive Bidding and Restricted Tendering method of procurement, to bid for the procurement of fourteen (14) different Lots of specified goods, which included three (3) Mettler Toledo Weight-In-Motion Scales.

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According to the document “The bidder, El Dorado Trading, was disqualified from the tender procedure on account of its submission of a fraudulent manufacture’s authorisation for the supply and delivery of another Lot within the same tender procedure. As a consequence, El Dorado Trading was ineligible for the award of the contract for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales”.

It further noted that on the 6th of December, 2016, rather than inviting suppliers again through the National Competitive Bidding and Restricted Tendering method of procurement or pursuant to any other provisions of the Procurement Act, Cap. 73:05, Laws of Guyana (hereinafter referred to as “the Procurement Act”), Balraj Balram, on behalf of the Ministry, entered into a contract (hereinafter referred to as ‘’the contract”) with the NevPro Realization Limited of Jamaica, for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales.

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On the 13th day of December, 2016, Balraj Balram sent a letter to the former Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (hereinafter referred to as “NPTAB”), Mr. Berkely Wickham, requesting a “waiver of the Tender Board Procedures and for the purchase through sole sourcing” of the Motion Scales from the Jamaican company.

Nandllal noted that Balraj Balram did not advance or satisfy any of the conditions set out in the Procurement Act, as a reason for the request to use the Single-Source Procurement Procedure for the supply and delivery of the Motion Scales in his letter.

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As such, in the month of December, 2016, an updated Memorandum by the former Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Jordan, was submitted to Cabinet for its examination and “No Objection” in relation to the said request.

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The Cabinet Memorandum falsely stated that no bid was received for the Motion Scales, although one bid was received by El Dorado Trading;

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(b) that the basis on which Single-Source Procurement Procedure is being sought included the urgent need for the item, although no catastrophic event occurred to occasion that need as specified in section 28(c) of the Procurement Act; and

(c) that NevPro Realization Limited of Jamaica Was a reputable company that was suitably qualified to supply the motion scales as it was in operation for over fifteen (15) years when in fact, that company was only in operation for four (4) years at the date of the Memorandum.

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The document also noted on the 29th day of December, 2016, even before Cabinet approved the grant of its No-Objection to facilitate the award of the contract to the NevPro Realization Limited of Jamaica in breach of the Procurement Act, an Advance Payment Certificate was approved and certified by Balraj Balram in the sum of one hundred and seventy-two thousand five hundred United States dollars (US$172, 500) representing a fifty percent (50%) advance payment under the terms of the contract.

Balraj Balram and Lawrence Mentis in a letter to the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Mr. Godfrey Statia, requested the waiver of duties and taxes by falsely stating that the request is being made in accordance with a contract signed the 29th day of December 2016, between the Ministry and Massy Industries for the Supply and Delivery of the Motion Scales.

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Then on the 30th day of December, 2016, again ex post facto, the Cabinet considered the Cabinet Memorandum and approved the grant of its No-objection to the waiver of NPTAB procedures to facilitate the award of the contract through the Single-Source Procurement Procedure for the supply of the Motion Scales from the Jamaican company.

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Lastly, on the 4th day of January, 2017, inexplicable but corruptly and without receipt of the Motion Scales, a Final Payment Certificate in the sum of one hundred and seventy-two thousand five hundred United States dollars (US$172, 500) representing final payment for the delivery of the Motion Scales was approved and certified by the Balram and Mentis.

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Based on the document the Final Payment Certificate dated the 4th day of January, 2017, was approved and certified by the Balram and Mentis six (6) days after the approval and certification of the Advance Certificate and twenty-nine (29) days after the signing of the contract dated the 6th day of December, 2016, to supply and deliver the Motion Scales.

According to the AG for the entirety of the year 2017, there is no evidence that any steps, whatsoever, were taken by Patterson, Balram, or Mentis to pursue any form of communication with the Jamaican company to ensure delivery of the Motion Scales. In short, the alacrity to make full and final payment to the Jamaican company for the Motion Scales was not in the faintest way replicated in efforts to ensure delivery of that which was paid for.

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In addition, on the 15th day of March, 2018, more than one year after the ninety (90) days period, six (6) packages purporting to be the Motion Scales were shipped to Guyana by the Jamaican company To date, only three (3) out of the six (6) packages were found at the Laparkan Trading Ltd, storage bond in Georgetown.

Lastly, none of the packages were opened to verify that the contents of the packages actually were the Motion Scales or components of the Motion Scales.

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