Guyana defends decision to end hospital construction contract with Indian company

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Site being prepared for Speciality Hospital (File Photo)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday September 12, 2014, CMC –The Indian construction firm, Surendra Engineering Corporation (SECL) Thursday denied allegations that it had submitted false documents to the Guyana government in order to secure a multi-million dollar contract to construct a hospital here.

The government said that the firm had submitted a document purporting to come from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago in accordance with the provisions of the contract that required certain securities to be provided by the contractor in relation to advanced payment guarantees, as well as security, which would guarantee performance of a particular quality.

But Attorney General Anil Nandlall said that when the document was “produced to my chambers for examination we requested some form of authentication for this company in terms of its existence and standing as a result of that request purporting to emanate from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, a notary public seal affixed to that document in my limited experience a document coming from a bank will not ordinarily have affixed a notary seal”.

Nandlall said formal enquires from the Central Bank in Trinidad confirmed first by phone that the document did not come from them, and a signature on the document was made by someone who does not seem to exist.

He said the Central Bank of Trinidad has since launched its own investigation and the authorities here are assisting.

But SECL managing director Brijen Parikh said his company “is not aware of the document and has not provided any such document as referred to in the reports in respect of Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

“We hereby reiterate that all such allegations of fraud or financial irregularities are completely baseless and without any merit,” he said, indicating that the decision to scrap the project might be due to “political compulsions or for any other ulterior motives”.

SECL said that while it would remain committed to the Specialty Hospital Project, it would be considering legal action against the government.

“SECL is entitled to recover several million USD from the Government in respect of work done at the site so far,” the company said, adding that the government was fully aware that the reasons for delay in the project were solely because of its own failure to meet its own obligations under the contract.

“The stoppage of work was only because of failure or neglect on part of the government of Guyana from fulfilling its obligations. It is shocking to hear such press reports which can only be interpreted as a desperate attempt on part of the Government of Guyana to wriggle out its stated commitments towards the project.”

The company said its capability was never in question and that it has a sound 40-year track record of “vast experience and expertise” in engineering and construction.
SECL said it has successfully designed, constructed and completed more than 100 projects in 33 countries worldwide.

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