The Audit Office has highlighted the award of a contract by the Ministry of Public Works led by David Patterson for a road restoration at La Parfaite Harmony, West Bank Demerara (WBD) which was in “good condition”.
In relation to the contract, the works included vegetation clearance and grouting, carriageway contraction, the installation of white sand / sand clay and the sub-base of a runoff with an asphalt concrete concrete surface.
Although the $ 1.324M advance advance has been paid since December 2019, the Notice to Commence the Work was issued on June 2, 2020; that is, about five months after. The completion date of the work was September 4, 2020; that is, three months after the Commencement Notice was published.
On June 16, 2020; that is, two weeks after the publication of the Commencement Notice, the Ministry wrote the contractor stating that there was a change in the location and scope of the works under the contract, where the work would now be completed on an alternative route close to the original one.
The contract amount remained the same despite the changes; since then, the sizes have been adjusted to suit the new roadworks.
However, the Audit Office, in its 2019 Report, noted that this contravened Section 33 (2) of the Procurement Act, which states: “At any time before the tender submission deadline, the procuring entity may, for any reason, either on its own initiative or as a result of a request for clarification from a supplier or contractor, modify the tender documents.”
Then on July 28, 2020, the Ministry wrote the contractor about non-movement, and poor performance.
However, the Audit Office stated that “our physical check on 8 October 2020 revealed that the contractor had still not moved to the site. In addition, it was not possible to determine whether the Contractor had extended the Advance Payment Bond and Performance Bond. There was also no evidence that the Ministry had taken any action against the contractor for failing to move to the site and complete the work. ”
The Audit Office further explained that, during its inspection on October 8, it was found that the road had an asphalt surface and showed no signs of failure or deterioration.
“However, the scope of the works under the contract required the contractor to demolish the existing asphalt surface road and rebuild it again. In conclusion, the basis for choosing this route for rehabilitation work was unclear, ”the 2019 Report noted.
In response, the Ministry admitted that the chosen route was indeed “in good condition” and claimed that the award of the contract was an “overview”.
The Ministry also noted that every effort would be taken to avoid a recurrence.
With regard to the other issues raised, the Ministry explained that the issue of the Commencement Letter was an overview and steps had been put in place to avoid a recurrence.