Auditor General to finalise report on audit into Larry London’s birth certificates scandal

Larry Landon
Larry Landon

Auditor General Deodat Sharma on Thursday disclosed that an interim report will be done in connection with the investigation of 100,000 birth certificates that were acquired through close ally of the APNU/AFC coalition Larry London, via a Florida-based company.

Sharma told media operatives that his office is combing through all aspects of the audit while noting that they were faced with some difficulty in accessing documents, since the company is based overseas. This is one of six special investigations which were launched, three of which have already been completed.

“We are working on it. This will be the interim report, not the final one,” Sharma said.

The audit was ordered back in September when Attorney General Anil Nandlall wrote Sharma, requesting that the contract between the then Department of Citizenship and Universal Procurement Services Inc be audited. This would bring to light whether there was compliance with the provisions of the Procurement Act, and if there was non-compliance, then the reasons must be stated. It would also highlight reasons why the services of the conventional publisher of the birth certificates were not sought.

Had the services of the conventional publisher been retained, then what would have been the estimated cost to print and publish the same documents?

During the first day of the examination of the budget estimates, Governance Minister Gail Teixeira was asked about a $29.1 million allocation under line item 6224, page 46 of the 2020 estimates. She revealed that the amount relates to Universal Procurement Services, which was contracted to print thousands of birth certificates for the Ministry of Citizenship.

Describing the contract as unusual and strange, Teixeira went on to reveal that controversial businessman London is the principal of the company. Teixeira, a former Home Affairs Minister with oversight for citizenship, noted that previously it was the local printers who received such contracts.

The company itself, Universal Procurement Services, was registered with Florida’s Division of Corporations. London is listed as one of three directors. However, a perusal of the database shows that the company’s status is in fact inactive.

London has been the subject of numerous articles, dating as far back as his involvement in the controversial Durban Park project. Lambasted on all sides for its lack of transparency and its structural defects, Durban Park was built through the coordination of Homestretch Development Incorporated (HDI) – a company co-owned by London. Public funds for the project, which cost a total of over $1 billion, was scraped from multiple avenues by the former APNU/AFC Government and handed over to HDI.