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Jamaican company, David Patterson, former Permanent Secretary sued for weigh-in-motion scales

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 August 2021, 22:09 by Denis Chabrol

A Jamaican company, former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and the former Permanent Secretary Balraj Balram are facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit concerning the purchase of three weigh-in-motion scales that government said had not been delivered.

Also sued is Lawrence Mentis, a then  Engineer/Manager of the Special Projects Unit of the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall released court documents showing  asking the High Court to order Nevpro Realization Limited of Haining Road, Kingston Jamaica to pay GY$50 million for loss and damage suffered as a result of the breach of contract dated December 6 , 2016, for the supply and delivery of three Mettler Toledo Weight-in-Motion Scales.

The State is also asking the High Court to return the GY$$72,450,000 that had been paid for the scales.

Patterson, Balram and Mentis are being sued for more than GY$50 million for each for loss of damage due to negligence, alleged misfeasance in public office, and misuse, misapplication and improper disposal of public moneys in violation of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.

Further, all four defendants are being sued for GY$50 million for exemplary damages, aggravated damages and such interest as may be determined by the court.

In the court papers released to the media by the Attorney General, he said a Director of NevPro Realization was the campaign manager for A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) for the 2015 general and regional elections and was closely associated with the AFC of which Patterson is a founding member.

The Attorney General states that a Guyanese company, El Dorado Trading, had been the only bidder which had offered to procure the weigh-in-motion scales for GYD$10 million but had been disqualified for allegedly submitting fraudulent manufacture’s authorisation for the supply and delivery of another Lot within the same tender procedure.

Rather than inviting suppliers again, Mr. Nandlall said the Permanent Secretary on December 6, 2016 entered into a contract with Nevpro Realization Limited. According to the State, the Permanent Secretary never invited that Jamaica company to bid but after the contract had been signed, he had allegedly written to the then Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) Mr. Berkely Wickham, requesting a “waiver of the Tender Board Procedures and for the purchase through sole sourcing” of the motion scales from Nevpro.

The Attorney General said a purported cabinet memorandum “falsely stated” that no bid had been received for the motion scales, they had been needed urgently although no catastrophic event had occurred, and that Nevpro had been suitably qualified to submit the scales and had been in operation for over 15 years although records show that it had been in existence for only four years.

The State says that on December 29, 2016 even before Cabinet had granted its no-objection to allow for the contract to be awarded to Nevpro, 50 percent or US$172,500 had been paid in advance for the motion scales. The High Court is also being asked to consider that the Permanent Secretary and Mr Mentis had after December 29 written to the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Mr. Godfrey Statia, requesting the waiver of duties and taxes by falsely stating that the request is being  made in accordance with a contract signed the 29 th day of December, 2016, between the Ministry and Massy Industries for the Supply and Delivery of the Motion Scales.

The Attorney General said that on January 4, 2017 the remaining 50 percent or US$172,500 had been paid although the motion scales had not been received.

On the 15*’ day of March, 2018, in excess of one year after the 90 days period, six packages purporting to be the Motion Scales were shipped to Guyana by Nevpro, only three out of the six packages were found at the Laparkan Trading Ltd, storage bond in Georgetown. “None of the packages were opened to verify that the contents of the packages actually were the Motion Scales or components of the Motion Scales,” he said.