“We will not allow corruption” – Edghill orders probe into alleged asphalt plant racket

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Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, along with Junior Minister of Public Works Deodat Indar during a recent visit to the asphalt plant. at Garden of Eden, EBD. [DPI photo]
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill has ordered an investigation into allegations of an alleged racket at the asphalt plant, a State-run entity.

The Kaieteur News reported on September 22 that contractors working on government projects were mandated to take their asphalt from the Garden of Eden plant and would get huge discounts under a scam that stretched all the way to the Ministry of Public Works.

According to the newspaper’s source, persons from the Ministry would order a certain amount of asphalt from the plant to be billed to the Ministry. However, they will collect less than what was ordered, and the difference is sold at discounted prices to contractors.

This would result in significant losses in revenue as well as contractors benefiting from the racket being at an unfair advantage over other contractors.

The asphalt plant is being operated by the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC).

Minister Edghill has since expressed concern over the reports.

“I’m very concerned and distressed by it, especially since there are allegations that may implicate staff of the Ministry of Public Works,” he stated.

“As the minister responsible for this sector, both the Ministry of Public Works and the Demerara Harbour Bridge, under whose management, the asphalt plant falls, I have ordered an investigation,” Minister Edghill announced on Tuesday.

“I invite members of the public, including contractors and anyone who has information that could bring an end to this alleged racket, and stop the haemorrhaging of the public purse, to please, at the appropriate time, provide us with the information,” Minister Edghill stated.

“We will not allow corruption in any form, shape or fashion. The people must get value for their money and corrupt public officials must not be allowed to benefit,” he contended.

Minister Edghill pointed out that at time this, the report is simply an “allegation” but he assured that “we will get to the bottom of it”.