APNU+AFC approved millions for Linden call centre repairs before contract signed; $16.2M in materials missing

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The Auditor General has found discrepancies in payments approved on a contract for renovations and functional enhancements to a call centre building at Linden, Region 10.

“The Ministry of Public Telecommunications made full payment on a contract to an
Engineering Firm for design and supervision services for the renovations and functional
enhancements to a Call Centre Building at Linden, Region №. 10.

“However, our physical verification on 4 September 2020 revealed that there was no representative from the Consultant on site to supervise the works. Further, the roof sheeting installed did not meet the specifications in the contract, while materials valuing $16.249M already paid for, were not on the site,” states the Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Guyana and on the Accounts of Ministries, Departments and Regions for the fiscal year 2019.

The report was formally released on Wednesday in the National Assembly.

Further, the report said the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, which was headed by Alliance for Change member Catherine Hughes, approved an advance payment of $17.1M and an interim payment of $31.8M, on the same date.

Investigations revealed that the actual contract between the Ministry and the contractor was signed one day after the advance and interim payments were already approved.

In December 2019, the Ministry and M&P Investments Incorporated signed a $116Million contract for the renovation of the old call centre in Linden.

At the signing, it was announced that the works would be completed by April 2020. At least 150 seats should have been available initially with a long-term goal of providing 300 jobs for Lindeners.
Almost a year later, that has not materialized.

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