[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon announced today that construction on Guyana’s first Specialty Hospital, which the administration has been passionately pursuing in recent time, has halted after a major fraud was uncovered.
He told reporters that that the move to suspend construction on the facility resulted widely from the delay in timelines and inadequate accountability for public funds by the contracting firm – Surendra Engineering Company Ltd (SECL) out of India.
He claimed that SECL had issued to the Guyana Government a forged document purporting to have emanated from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT).
In a statement late yesterday afternoon, the government said “since late June 2014, the Government of Guyana had been engaging SECL on a number of issues regarding allegation of fraud and financial irregularities.”
”Subsequently, the Government of Guyana discovered that SECL’s representative in Guyana had submitted a fraudulent document purporting to emanate from the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. Since the fraudulent Act by SECL was confirmed by the Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago, the Government has written SECL informing the Company of its intention to terminate the contract, to pursue legal action against the company for fraud and to recover public funds from SECL for which it has failed to account fully”, the statement said.
The Ministry of Health is expected to address the issue at a press conference scheduled for this afternoon.
Dr. Luncheon pointed out that Cabinet has been having discussions on the issue over the past few weeks; adding that the decision was taken yesterday to terminate the contract.
He maintained that the administration will be pursuing criminal charges against the company to recover unaccounted public funds from the tune of US$4 million which was given to the company.
SECL was contracted to build and design the US$150 million project at Turkeyen along the East Coast of Demerara. Dr. Luncheon told the news conference that the government remains committed to having a Specialty Hospital built here.
Surendra Engineering is currently working on other national projects which Dr. Luncheon said better scrutiny will need to be exercised over.
The Opposition had raised serious concerns when the contract was inked just over two years ago and even disapproved funding in the National Assembly.
The administration at the time had accused the opposition of stalling development.