…questions why SOCU never charged Patterson
Leader of the Opposition, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo is again questioning why the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is defaulting on its commitment to question Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson over the sole sourcing of a Demerara River bridge contract as he indicated that his Party will be working on having criminal misconduct charges re-filed against Government Ministers which the DPP discontinued earlier this year.
Now that the Public Procurement Commission and Auditor General have issued findings highlighting breaches in the procurement process regarding Government-signed contracts, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Jagdeo noted, has signaled its intention to have multiple charges re-filed against Government ministers.
It was in April that Director of Public Prosecutions Shalimar Ali-Hack discontinued a second set of privately filed charges against five Government ministers over the contentious Durban Park Project wherein the ministers allegedly breached the Procurement Act in relation to the expenditure of $906 million in public funds to a private company.
“We want to see if the DPP will still look at these charges now that a audit report is out because she said that she is for the cause of good governance, I don’t know what kind of good governance that is but that was the excuse” Jagdeo said.
The party already sent one matter to the police implicating Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson over breaches to the procurement process by the awarding of a $148 million sole-sourced contract to a Dutch company, for a feasibility study into the new Demerara River Bridge.
Jagdeo remains unsettled as the minister has not yet been called in by SOCU; the very unit that called several ministers of the former president’s cabinet on multiple occasions.
“We deposited it with SOCU and asked for an investigation, already two months have passed and Patterson did into have to go into SOCU as yet and this is an investigation done by the constitutional body, the Public Procurement Commission and it was found that it was illegal. The Police didn’t have to do much more investigation, they could’ve used the report to put the allegations to Patterson and then charge him by now, they should’ve invited the whole cabinet in like they did to talk about what took place at other cabinet…they promised that” Jagdeo revealed.
The Procurement Commission flagged Minister David Patterson for requesting from Cabinet that the contract be sole sourced, instead of being processed through the Procurement Board as the law says should be done.
It was subsequently announced that SOCU would be investigating the contract award.