By Derwayne Wills
CONSTRUCTION of the controversial Specialty Hospital at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown has again been put on pause, as the Guyana Government’s contractor, Fedders Lloyd, has been barred by the World Bank from entering such contractual arrangements until 2020.The World Bank’s decision was further endorsed by the Indian Government, which withdrew support from the New Dehli-based Fedders Lloyd since the company was placed on a list of ineligible firms and individuals who were found to be in violation of the procedures set out by the World Bank Group.
Fedders Lloyd has been accused by the World Bank of engaging in “fraudulent practice”. Such practices, according to the World Bank’s procurement guidelines, “mean a misrepresentation or omission of facts in order to influence a procurement process or the executive of a contract.”
According to the web.wordbank.org website, Fedders Lloyd cannot receive World Bank-financed contracts between April 6, 2016 and April 5, 2020. In order for the company to be taken off the list, it must cooperate with the corporate compliance conditions set out by the Bank.
Cabinet Secretary Joseph Harmon told reporters yesterday that while the David Granger Administration would proceed with the contract for construction of the controversial hospital, Government does not have the option to award that contract to companies outside of India.
“The contract which is there for the Specialty Hospital requires an Indian company to build that Specialty Hospital. And therefore the bidding and everything has to be done by a certain standard established by the Indians,” Harmon said yesterday at Cabinet’s first media briefing in eight weeks.
Harmon, the State Minister in the Ministry of the Presidency and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, confirmed that the Government of India had opted out of the engagement with Fedders Lloyd because of the World Bank ‘fraud and corruption’ sanction against the company.
Fedders Lloyd had been awarded the contract for construction of the hospital by the David Granger Administration after the previous Donald Ramotar Administration had parted ways with Surrendra Engineering Company, the first Indian firm to be awarded the contract for building the hospital.
A lawsuit by the Donald Ramotar Administration had been won in 2015, but there was an outstanding sum of money to be collected when that administration was ousted from office in May, 2015. Figures floating in media reports suggest some $900M were still to be collected by the Guyana Government.
Asked about the money awarded in the lawsuit, Harmon said Cabinet has asked Attorney General Basil Williams to “proceed with the legal process to ensure that those sums of money are retrieved.”