Public Telecommunications Minister, Cathy Hughes has denied any knowledge of a contract valuing over $800,000 being granted to Videomega Productions –a company for which she is listed as the Managing Director.
In a video statement on Tuesday evening, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira disclosed that the company was awarded a “multi-million dollar” contract by the Department of Energy.
“We have more and more now, this combination of incestuous relations within the Government where family members and extended family members are profiting from taxpayers money in violation of the procurement in-laws of our country, in some cases, and in other cases, by undermining and tampering with the process,” Teixeira alleged in the statement posted to the PPP’s Facebook page.
However in a statement late Tuesday night, Minister Hughes said prior to the PPP’s statement, she was “completely unaware” of the award of any contract to Videomega Productions.
She said she has since been informed that the contract was for the production of three sixty second television Public Service Announcements.
The value of the contract is $832,200.
“The award of this contract was never brought to my attention neither would I have been aware of it in the normal conduct of the Company’s business,” she noted.
Despite still being listed as Managing Director of the company on its website, the Minister said upon assuming office in May 2015, she relinquished her involvement in the day to day running of the company.
Russel Lancaster who is listed as Producer, Director, Copywriter and voice over talent on the website, was appointed Manager and is responsible for the operations of the company, Hughes said. Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Presidency in a subsequent statement denied the allegations of collusion to award the contract.
It also denied allegations that the material being developed is for elections purposes.
The Ministry said the company was contracted to complete the PSAs as part of its public awareness and sensitization campaign with regards to Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector. It did not state whether the company was selected through public tender but rather said: “the Department of Energy worked closely with the Ministry’s Procurement Unit in finalizing this contract.”
The Ministry further said it is not engaged in any “incestuous relationship” as indicated by Teixeira and has from its inception, worked in compliance with all rules and regulations relative to the procurement of goods and services.