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The controversy surrounding the termination of a contract for the extension of the East Coast Demerara road is intensifying with the contractor accusing the Ministry of Public Works of being less than truthful when it accused him of fraud and non-performance.The Managing Director of the contracting firm, Falcon Transportation and Construction Services, believes that the Ministry appears to be burying its head in the sand when it comes to taking the appropriate action against the real fraudsters and culprits.The contractor was responding to accusations made by the Ministry in a statement issued on Monday and carried by this newspaper under the caption “Non-performance and fraud led to contract termination”.He remains convinced that his contract was terminated in retaliation to his suspension of work on his section of the project over non-payment by the Ministry of Public Works.A section of the suspended road works on the East Coast Demerara.This situation he believes arose from his unwavering stance on demands for kickbacks allegedly made by Ministry officials.The Ministry is maintaining that “In view of the non performance by the Contractor on this project, the advice of the Attorney General’s Chambers was sought and the Ministry was advised to terminate the contract for fraudulent practices.”The contractor has produced documents to substantiate his claims that his business with the Ministry was above board.He has also provided this newspaper with names, dates and time to support allegations that he was badgered by officials for kickbacks on the contract he received.The Ministry is claiming that the contractor falsified compressive strength test results to prove that the concrete used for drains construction met the required strength.“The Faculty of Technology, University of Guyana, whose advice was sought,Air Max 97 Alennus, has confirmed that the results of the tests were indeed falsified.”Not soHowever,Air Max Canada Sale, the contractor produced documentation which purports to show that the Head of the Department/Coordinator of Industrial Testing, Faculty of Technology, University of Guyana, had certified several certificates for three, seven and 28-day strength tests.The certificates were dated between March and May this year. One of them bore the signature of acknowledgement of a Ministry of Public Works official.The Ministry had pointed out in its statement that the Contractor was written to on January 26, 2012 and on February 10, 2012, and that meetings were held with him and his representative on January 30 and on May 18, 2012. He did not respond to the claims of falsification.However, this newspaper has seen a letter from the contractor dated January 27, to the Coordinator, Works Service Group, Ministry of Public Works, informing that an experienced technical person who was working with the University of Guyana had done the testing.Additionally,Jordans Clearance, the Contractor had written to Minister Robeson Benn, informing him that the Ministry’s equipment for testing the strength of concrete was malfunctioning. After the tests were certified by the University of Guyana he was instructed by a ministry official to proceed with concrete works.The casting of concrete walls, the contractor said, was done in the presence of the said Ministry official on Sunday June 3 with no negative comments.He added that he is now shocked that the Ministry is raising the issue of non performance.Where was the supervisor?“The Ministry is making a lame excuse. How come it took the ‘qualified engineers six months to learn that I was doing substandard work? This speaks volumes about how the ministry conducts projects with taxpayers’ money,” the contractor told this newspaper.Another issue raised by the Ministry was what it termed “questionable” invoices submitted by the Contractor.The Ministry said that five out of 11 invoices submitted by the Contractor from suppliers had blacked out invoice numbers, and claims for the same items (steel) twice.However, the contractor provided this newspaper with a letter from the supplier, Gafsons Industries Limited, Parika Branch, certifying that the invoices were legitimate.The supplier even invited the Ministry to contact their offices should it require any further clarifications. It is not yet clear if this was done.On the question of the Ministry not being informed about the kickback demands made to the Contractor by its personnel, this newspaper has seen a letter addressed to Works Minister Benn informing about the unethical practice by its project supervisor.Significantly, the Contractor disclosed that the issue of the four percent demand made by a ‘big man’ at the Ministry of Finance is no secret since several senior officials of the Public Works Ministry had discussed the matter at the first project meeting in November last year.He said that present at that meeting were himself and his company engineer, Ministry officials including Rickford Lowe, Leon Goring, Phillip Bryan,Wholesale Jerseys, Kelvin Clarke, Jeffrey Walcott, James Lindo,Maillot De Foot Pas Cher, Marlon Ramsamoj and Naipaul Purai.“All of these people are aware of it,” the Contractor maintained.He believes that the ministry, based on the unfavourable reports presented by some “unscrupulous and greedy” Public Works officials, initially delayed payments to him in an effort to undermine his operation.The Contractor questioned how the Ministry was able to ascertain correctly that his firm was doing substandard work when its supervisor “is not at work on the site on numerous days”.The Ministry has even confirmed that it had granted an extension of 68 days due to the constant correction of designs.On July 2 the contractor wrote to Minister Benn, “Despite several requests for payments since March 2012….my firm has not been paid for approved works completed. The engineers when contacted say they are working on the payments,Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys, or they have some queries and corrections.”As a last resort he wrote to Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon on July 21 for his intervention to ensure that he was paid for the work completed.SERVER WEDNESDAY: ROAD WORKCAPTION: A section of the suspended road works on the East Coast Demerara.
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