Gov’t still to recoup $8M overpaid to contractor since 2013

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Seven years after a contracting firm was overpaid a total of $8.5M for construction works at the Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown Student Dorms, the monies are yet to be repaid.

The issue came up on Wednesday when the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) continued its review of the 2016 Auditor General (AG) Report. Although the issue was flagged in several AG reports between 2014 and 2016, with specific recommendations for action to be taken, the matter is yet to be resolved.

The PAC was told on Wednesday that the company – Triple A Contracting Service – has since been written to but no response was forthcoming. The principal of the company is listed as Roopnarine Singh.

The matter has been forwarded to the Attorney General Chambers where legal advice is being sought from the Solicitor General.  But according to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Alfred King, the Ministry of Finance was written to since 2017, in keeping with a request from the Solicitor General, for the original contract and payment documents.

King said despite follow-up checks since 2017, the contract and other pertinent documents have not been forthcoming which has stalled any legal action to be taken in the matter.

The contract for the excavation, landfilling, construction of drains, and concrete works at the student dorms was awarded in 2013 in the sum of $14M, and the full sum was paid to the contractor.

Based on physical verification of the site in April 2013, it was reported that the sum of $7.869M was overpaid to the contractor.

The competent officer for the project had requested re-measurement of the works since the contractor disputed the amount stated as overpaid. A revisit and leveling exercise was conducted in April 2014 and physical measurements taken revealed that the sum overpaid has increased to $8.597M.

To date, no recoveries were made by the ministry.

However, in 2016, the Head of Budget Agency explained that the ministry wrote to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board informing them of the contractor’s indebtedness to the ministry.

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