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Minister Patterson cleared of allegations in new Demerara Bridge project

The previously proposed three-lane new Demerara River Bridge.

The Guyana Police Force on Friday indicated that Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson has been cleared of corruption and other allegations concerning the hiring of a Netherlands-based company that conducted a feasibility study for a new Demerara River bridge.

The police force’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) received legal advice that there was no misuse of funds, no evidence that a criminal offence was committed and no evidence of any collusion between Arie Mol/Lievense CSO and staff of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

Investigators had probed allegations by the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) that Patterson had awarded a contract to Arie Mol/Lievense CSO to conduct the feasibility study for the new river crossing without an award by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB). The Procurement Commission had found that Patterson had allegedly breached the Procurement Act and Guyana’s Constitution by sole-sourcing the contract without going through NPTAB.

Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) lawmaker, Juan Edghill had called on Patterson to explain how was it that a total of GYD$148 million was paid to the Dutch company, Lievense CSO Engineering Contracting BV, for an unsolicited feasibility study, but figures show that GYD$227 million was paid over by the Demerara Harbour Bridge for that job.

Edghill had claimed that in 2017 the Asphalt Plant of the Demerara Bridge paid GYD$153,250,385 on the feasibility study and in January, 2018 an additional GYD$14,728,000 and in February GYD$59,340,00 was spent on the project.