AG sues David Patterson, Jamaican firm & others over non-delivery $72.4M scales

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Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC has filed a lawsuit against former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and a Jamaican company, Nevpro Realization Limited as well as two others over the non-delivery of $72.4M worth of motion scales which were purchased and fully paid for by the State in 2017.

The other persons named in the lawsuit are the then Public Works Ministry Permanent Secretary, Balraj Balram and the then head of the Special Projects Unit in the Public Works Ministry, Lawrence Mentis.

In a Statement of Claim released last evening, Nandlall is asking the High Court to order Nevpro Realisation Limited of Haining Road, Kingston, Jamaica to pay $50 million for loss and damages resulting from a breach of a contract dated December 6, 2016, for the supply and delivery of three Mettler Toldeo weight-in-motion scales. He is also asking the court to order the company to return $72, 450,000 that had been paid for the items as well as liquidated damages of $7, 245,000.

Further, Patterson, Balram, and Lawrence Mentis are each being sued for $50 million for loss and damage due to negligence, malfeasance in public office, misuse, misapplication and improper disposal of monies in violation of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.

Nandlall is seeking another $50 million from the respondents for exemplary and aggravated damages, as well as interest, and any further order the court finds just. Nandlall said that a Director of the Jamaican company was the campaign manager for the APNU/AFC for the 2015 General and Regional Elections and was closely associated with Patterson, a founding member of the AFC.

According to the Attorney General, El Dorado Trading, a Guyanese company had been the sole bidder to procure the weight-in-motion scales but was disqualified for submitting a fraudulent manufacturer’s authorisation for the supply and delivery of another lot within the same tender for the items. That company had made a bid of $10, 200, 000.

Instead of inviting suppliers to bid for the project again, he said that Balram, on December 6, 2016, entered into a contract with Nevpro Realisation Limited which was never invited to bid for the supply and delivery of the weight-in-motion scales.

Nandlall said that after the contract was inked, the Permanent Secretary wrote to the Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) requesting a waiver of NPTAB’s procedure and for the items to be sole-sourced from the Jamaican company.

He further said that a Cabinet memorandum falsely stated that no bid had been received for the motion scales and that they had been needed urgently although there was no evidence to support that a catastrophic event had occurred.
He pointed out that it was submitted to the Cabinet that the company had been in operation for 15 years, when in fact records indicated that it had only been in existence for four years.

The Attorney General further submitted that on December 29, 2016, Cabinet approved the granting of the contract to Nevpro Realisation Limited, and the company was paid 50 percent or US$172, 500 which is equivalent to GY$36, 225, 000.

He added that Mentis and Balram later wrote to the Guyana Revenue Authority’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia requesting that the duties and taxes on the motion scales be waived by falsely stating the request was in accordance with a contract dated December 29, 2016, between the ministry and Massy Industries for the supply and delivery of the items.

The remaining sum of US$172, 500 was paid to the company on January 4, 201 even though the motion scales were not delivered. According to Nandlall, on March 15, 2018, six packages purporting to be motion scales were shipped to Guyana by Nevpro Realisation Limited. However, he noted that only three of the six packages were found at the Laparkan storage bond in Georgetown.

Nandlall added, “None of the packages were open to verify that the contents of the packages actually were the motion scales or components of the motion scales.” Having regard to the foregoing, the Attorney General is asking the High Court to grant the reliefs prayed for in the lawsuit.