Patterson, Adams granted $200k bail on conspiracy to defraud charge

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Former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and former General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) Corporation Rawlston Adams were Monday jointly charged with conspiracy to defraud in relation to a $162 million sole-sourced contract handed out in 2016 while both gentlemen held their substantive position.

They appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court after Chief Magistrate Ann McLennon recused herself from hearing the case. McLennon is reportedly friends with both Patterson and Adams.

The duo was not required to plea to the charge which was laid indictable. They were released on $200,000 bail each.

Attorney Glen Hanoman appeared for Adams. Both Adams and his attorney refused to speak to the media.

Attorney Ronald Burch-Smith leads the defence team for Patterson which also includes Attorney Nigel Hughes.

Hughes said the defence believes the charge is unfounded even as the two are expected to return to court on February 15. “The institution of these charges seems to be political,” he added.

Patterson did not speak to the media on the advice of his legal team. He was greeted outside the Courthouse by Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon and several other Opposition Parliamentarians who held placards and chanted “patto deliver.”

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.

Patterson is being made to answer for his decision not to re-tender the contract for the feasibility study and design of the new crossing after a previous procurement process was annulled.

He reportedly facilitated the award of the contract through sole sourcing, instead of going through the Procurement Board, as the law says should be done.

The report from the investigation conducted by the Public Procurement Commission noted that the bid from Dutch company LievenseCSO was “unsolicited”, but Patterson took the company’s proposal to Cabinet for approval, and it was granted.

The report stated that monies to be spent on the project were taken from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (Asphalt Plant Accounts) under the Management of Adams at the time.

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