Adams acted on instructions of Granger’s Cabinet to withdraw funds from Asphalt Plant account
A secret Cabinet document dated November 22, 2016 has confirmed that it was a Cabinet decision by the David Granger government for the withdrawal of funds from the Demerara Harbour Bridge (Asphalt Plant accounts) that would allow for a sole-source contract to go-ahead for a feasibility study and design of a new bridge across the Demerara River.
The document, which was signed by former Minister of State Joseph Harmon, recorded a Cabinet considered memorandum, brought before it by then Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson, for which approval was granted.
The approval allowed for the withdrawal of $103.9 million from the Asphalt Plant accounts for the funding of stage 1 of the project. That sum was intended to cover remuneration and reimbursable expenses for the feasibility study for the construction of the new bridge.
Additionally, the approval allowed for the withdrawal of $57.5 million for the funding of stage 2 of the project.
Harmon, who is now Opposition Leader, was asked on Monday about Cabinet’s authority to approve the utilization of funds from state entities that are run by a Board of Directors.
He explained that issues are brought to Cabinet by subject Ministers and as such, it would have the “power” to deal with any matters brought by the Ministers.
Earlier on Monday, Patterson and former General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) Corporation Rawlston Adams were jointly charged with conspiracy to defraud in relation to the $162 million sole-sourced contract.
The duo was not required to plea to the charge which was laid indictable. They were released on $200,000 bail each.
It is alleged that between November 18, 2016, and February 1, 2018, they conspired together with each other and persons unknown to defraud the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation of $162,635,015.
The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) had been investigating the matter.