Response to Press Statement on the Ebini Road Works and Three Friends Pump Station

In the press statement, reference was made to an article published May 30, 2018 by an opposition MP, Juan Edghill and published in “Citizens’ Report”.  The article was captioned “$100M later and Ebini road yet to be completed, contractor handpicked.”

NDIA is upgrading/constructing a 12-mile long road from the Berbice River to the Ebini Agricultural Station in the Intermediate Savannah. The works are being done by the NDIA utilising the force account methodology and Chung Global is contracted to transport construction material (sand, loam and laterite) to the site.

The article was prefaced with the words “Citizens’ Report understands that over $100M had already been spent on the project up to March 2018. The contract was given to Chung Global Enterprise. Notably, absolutely no tendering was done, the works were offered to Chung Global Enterprise by the Deputy Director of The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Dave Hicks.”

Our response to these allegations is as follows:

  • Chung’s Global Enterprise was awarded a contract in the sum of G$4,625,000 (four million, six hundred and twenty five thousand Guyana dollars) by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (Ref. No. 4068/2017/21) on December 18, 2017. To date no payment has been made to the contractor. Mr. Hicks had nothing to do with the procurement process. At the time of the award Mr. Flatts was not on leave.

The article ends with the words “Notably, another PPP/C MP, Mr. Dharamkumar Seeraj said that “there was no engineers estimates, no scope of work, no bidding process, yet someone was given a contract.” He further lamented that “it appears that Mr. Hicks, who gave the contract to Chung Global Enterprises, is also supervising the works.” “He is also approving the payments, and this is a very incestuous arrangement,” Seeraj argued.”

Our response to this paragraph is as follows:

The engineer’s estimate was “G$4,950,000 (four million, nine hundred and fifty thousand Guyana dollars). The scope of works was the “transportation of road construction materials for the construction of an access road at Ebini, Berbice River, Region No. 10”. Mr. Hicks is one of two engineers who rotates in supervising the works along with a resident clerk of works in this hinterland area. The NDIA has absolutely no knowledge of any “incestuous arrangement.”

We shall now address ten questions which were asked in the article.

  1. What was the contract sum? Answer given above.
  2. What is the scope of works? Answer given above.
  3. What was the procurement process used for the selection of the contract? Restrictive Tendering.
  4. Why were these works not publicly advertised? The engineer’s estimate was within the limits to facilitate restrictive tendering in accordance with the National Procurement Act.
  5. Why such a major investment, in a community like Ebini, not publicly announced? The National Procurement Act allows for such small works not to be published.
  6. What was the mobilization fees offered to Chung Global Enterprises? There was no mobilisation fee for such a small contract.
  7. Is there a performance bond in place, and if so, issued by which company? Yes, it was issued by Caricom General Insurance Company Inc.
  8. Was the Deputy Director acting under the instructions of the Minister of Agriculture, when this contract was awarded to Chung Global Enterprises? As stated above, Mr. Hicks had nothing to do with the procurement process.
  9. Were these works scheduled as part of NDIA work programme or is it emergency works? The works are a part of NDIA work programme.
  10. Why this contract was handed to Chung Global Enterprises only when the substantive Director was on annual leave? Answer given above.

Three Friends Pump Station

It is true that the contractor had issued a line of credit to the consultant on January 252017. Please note that our advertisement for both the consultancy service and the construction works was made on May 212017, about four months later. The source of the line of credit issued to CB and Associates Inc. was completely missed by the evaluators as no financial information was requested or required of the consultants and therefore was not a part of the evaluation criteria. The evaluators therefore did not evaluate the line of credit or its source.

Fredrick Flatts