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NGC submits report

Friday, March 14 2014

THE National Gas Company (NGC) yesterday submitted its report on the award of a billion dollar contract to a consortium of companies, including Super Industrial Services (SIS), to build, operate and maintain a water cycling plant in Beetham to the Energy Ministry.

NGC officials told Newsday the report was sent to the ministry’s offices at Tower C of the International Waterfront Centre late yesterday afternoon.

They did not indicate the findings of the report, and were uncertain as to whether Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine, who requested the report, had received it. The officials indicated the report was delivered to Ramnarine’s office, but he was in a meeting at the time. Repeated efforts yesterday to contact Ramnarine to find out whether he received the report, and his views on its contents was unsuccessful.

Ramnarine attended the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair yesterday. There was no post-Cabinet news conference afterwards. Ramnarine also attended a National Security Council meeting at the same venue.

The contract was awarded to a consortium consisting of SIS, Foster Wheeler USA Corporation and Hyflux International Pte on February 28 last.

Contacted yesterday, SIS officials said the company would make a full statement at the appropriate time, but gave no indication when that would be.

In a joint newspaper advertisement with Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), NGC insisted that it “ensured transparency” in the award of the contract. The contract was executed on March 10 last. NGC said it has “ensured that best practics has been adhered to along every stage of the tendering process for all prospective bidders.”

NGC’s president Indar Maharaj is also WASA’s chairman. In the ad, NGC identified September 4 to December 10, 2013 as the period during which the request for proposals (RFP) for the project was issued and when the agreements were executed.

In a signed letter to President Anthony Carmona dated March 10, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley urged the President to use his powers under Section 81 of the Constitution to call upon Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to explain the circumstances under which this contract was awarded. Copies of the letter were also sent to the Integrity Commission, World Bank, IMF, OAS, IDB and Caricom.

Rowley also indicated he will file a private motion to debate this matter in the House of Representatives.

Last year, SIS refuted claims it was receiving favourable treatment from the People’s Partnership Government in the award of contracts for certain projects, in a series of paid newspaper advertisements.

In his letter to the President, Rowley describes SIS as “a known financier of the United National Congress (UNC)” and “the beneficiary of numerous awards for very lucrative contracts from the PP Government.”

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