Contractor flouts Court Order on return of monies overpaid in 2010

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Ash Engineering, the contracting firm hired to conduct rehabilitation works to the Kamarang Police Station in 2010, has failed to repay some $1 million which was overpaid despite an April 2018 Court Order which mandated that the monies be repaid within 12 months.

The matter came up on Monday during considerations of the Auditor General’s 2016 Report by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Committee that the contractor, who had the outstanding sums since 2010 for the Ministry and was subsequently taken to Court, has still not repaid the sums.

Following the Court Order in April 2018, the contractor made a single payment of $40,000 with no other sums forthcoming, PAC was told.

Permanent Secretary Mae Toussaint Jr. Thomas told PAC that a letter was sent recently to the Attorney General Chambers for further advice with considerations underway for the contractor to be summoned to the Ministry sometime in August.

She noted that the matter had been ongoing for more than 10 years and needed to be finalized urgently.

The overpayment occurred because several sections of the work were never completed although the contractor had been paid in full.

Ash Engineering is also accused of never providing any performance bond or insurances.

The contract for the rehabilitation of Kamarang Police Station was awarded in 2010 in the sum of $3.348M and during that year amounts totalling $2.391M were paid on certified works.

According to the AG report, a subsequent payment of $697,150 made in the year 2012 increased disbursements under the contract to $3.088M. An inspection of the works in that year revealed that a total overpayment of $1.273M had occurred as a result of twenty discrepancies in measured works.

The Ministry was able to clear to the satisfaction of Audit Office an amount of $272,750, leaving a balance of $1M to be recovered.

At that time, a letter was written by the contractor stating that the outstanding balance owed by him will be settled by the Guyana Defence Force.

The report further noted that on July 24, 2015, the Accounting Officer of the Guyana Defence Force wrote the Ministry indicating that the sum owing would be repaid when liability is approved from the Ministry of Finance. Notwithstanding this, during September 2016, the Guyana Defence Force wrote the Ministry stating that the Force has honoured all outstanding indebtedness to the contractor but at the time of reporting, the balance of $1M was still to be recovered.

 

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