The Office of the Auditor General will investigate the new $ 488 Million Eco 2000 Batch Mix Asphalt Equipment, which remains inoperative nearly two years after installation.
This was announced by Public Works Minister Juan Edghill during an inspection of the factory on Friday.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the Minister said the probe will try to “find out how it was acquired, if that was the best deal we got, why it doesn’t operate, what needs to be done to how it works and how we can start using it to increase efficiency and get value for money in Guyana. “
Minister Edghill said he was unhappy that the former Government had spent $ 488 million on an asphalt factory, operated by the Demerara Harbor Bridge Corporation, which is yet to start production.
“Since we joined Government, we discovered there were no parts in place to make it functional and that’s why I can’t understand the level of dishonesty [former Minister] David Patterson… No amount of propaganda and spinning in public will make asphalt plants function non-functional. ”
The Minister said he was awaiting an assessment from technical officials to determine the steps needed to take what he described as a “white elephant” since taxpayers’ money was invested in the new factory.
“We have a very strong developmental agenda. This work and its ability to apply asphalt on a daily basis is needed and needed, but as yet it cannot be functional and functional. “
Making matters worse, the Minister said that the manufacturers have not properly transferred the Equipment to Government.
The DHBC Board met on a probe into an old factory
With regard to the probe to the former asphalt factory, the Board of Directors of the Demerara Harbor Bridge Corporation (DHBC) recently examined the findings.
Minister Edghill said the Board has decided that its human resources subcommittee will interview people involved with DHBC who have been considered guilty of the probe’s allegations and findings.
“As far as I know, the Board Chair is arranging for those interviews early next week and from there we will be able to make public pronouncements.”
The Minister said that it was the Board’s decision to hold staff to account for any wrongdoing, according to the probe.
In all Board installations under the Ministry of Public Works since August, Minister Edghill has charged the directors to ensure that Government apparatus ratifies holdings of accountability and transparency.
On December 30, the CEO of Chateram Ramdihal Chartered Accountants, Mr Chateram Ramdihal, handed over the report, which investigated the financial and operational management of the former asphalt factory during the years 2013-2020.
Among the findings, the probe found that DHBC’s management was to blame for not ensuring the efficient management and execution of the work.
The probe also revealed that over $ 12 million in debt was accrued by Courtney Benn Construction Incorporated, and bitumen lending to Suresh Jagmohan and China Railways, all without Board approval, among other damning findings.