Accounting firm Ram & McRae has now called for a full inquiry into all aspects of the D’Urban Park Project, including the Government’s role and that of Homestretch Development Inc and its Directors.
The call for inquiry into the project and the several hundred million dollars that was poured into the edifice through Homestretch Development Inc, attracted the attention of the accounting firm in its post-budget analysis of the 2017 Estimates.
According to the firm, “There are so many conflicting versions of this matter that it is hard to know where to begin.”
It was observed that the matter burst into the open only days ago when Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson admitted in the National Assembly that a private company – Homestretch Development Inc (HDI) – had been formed to undertake the D’Urban Park Project.
He named a number of persons as Directors but whether by accident or design he omitted to mention Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, the Education Minister, as one of the Directors.
President David Granger on his weekly show, sought to defend Dr Roopnaraine and offered his views about HDI which he described as a special purpose company.
According to Ram & McRae, “It appears that the President was misled into misleading the public as the company never was a special purpose company.”
It was observed that, among the types of business it was formed to carry on included the “import and export generally to and from Guyana” and the “business of Real Estate.”
This is confirmed in the Articles of Incorporation which stated that there is no restriction on the business the company could carry on.
As such, Ram & McRae has determined, “That is not a special purpose company, if ever there was one.”
It was observed too that President Granger was also reported as stating that the project was delayed because of the presentation of the Budget.
“In fact, when the President spoke his government had presented two budgets – one in August 2015 before sand filling of the site had taken place – and the other in January 2016…HDI was incorporated in January 22, 2016, one week before the presentation of the 2016 budget in which $350 million was approved for the Jubilee Celebrations.”
According to the accounting firm, “Whether a company is a special purpose vehicle, a government company or a private (non-government) company they are all required to comply with the Companies Act.”
It was pointed out that the Act contains rules dealing with contracts entered before a company is incorporated, require an organisational meeting of the Directors while the common law imposes fiduciary duties of incorporators and promoters.
In addition to the $350 million voted in the 2016 Budget, a further sum of $406,758,312 was spent out of the Contingencies Fund for the “completion of D’Urban Park Development Project to facilitate the holding of Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary celebrations.
Ram & MaRae pointed out too that there would have also been moneys received from the celebrations all of which need to be accounted for: “In so far as the moneys were public moneys they ought to have been paid into the Consolidated Fund… As of now, there clearly are more questions than answers.” (Guyana Times)