Juez Jose Oliveros Febres-Cordero Banco Activo//
SOCU clears Patterson

Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero
SOCU clears Patterson

An artist’s impression of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge …finds no evidence of misuse of funds, collusion, crime …in award of Harbour Bridge study contract THE Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force, in the aftermath of a probe into the feasibility study for the new Demerara River Bridge, found that there is no evidence of any collusion between Netherlands-based Lievense CSO and the personnel from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero

This was disclosed in a police press release on Friday. The statement noted “reference to an investigation by SOCU into the Procurement of Consultancy Services for the feasibility study and design of the New Demerara River Bridge, please be informed that legal Aadvice has been obtained to the effect that: There was no misuse of funds; there is no evidence that a criminal offence has been committed and there is no evidence of any collusion between Arie Mol/Lievense CSO and the personnel from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.”

Mr. Ariel Mol of Lievense CSO was hired to conduct a feasibility study to build a new Demerara River Bridge although that entity was not among the 22 companies that had expressed interest in doing the job.

Jose Antonio Oliveros

The Ministry of Public Infrastructure had said it was forced to sole-source a Dutch consultancy company to conduct a feasibility study for the new Demerara River crossing after only one valid bid was submitted but exceeded the US$800,000 budget and concerns were raised about its technical level.

Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela

The Opposition People Progressive Party (PPP) had called for a probe into the Netherlands-based LievenseCSO which was awarded the consultancy (US$706,091) although that company was not among the 22 that had submitted expressions of interest. On Friday, the party, through its member Gail Teixeira, called on the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) to further investigate the award of the contract to the Dutch firm as it noted that it had “new evidence” to substantiate its claim.

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It said that the value of the contract and the sum approved by Cabinet were different while there were different dates given as regards the completion of the study.

Jose Antonio Oliveros Banco Activo

The Public Infrastructure Ministry had stated in 2017 that a decision was made to scrap the process in May that year following permission from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) and the Ministry of Finance.

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According to reports, funding for the feasibility study was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Government acknowledged that 22 firms expressed their interest, 12 of them were shortlisted but only two submitted bids, one of which was valid. “Nonetheless, MPI continued to seek suitable consultants due to the significance of the project and the need for its realisation. The ministry actively sought greatly qualified consultants worldwide. It was during engagements with various companies, including those in the Netherlands, the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) Team, and in England, the company, LievenseCSO, was recommended,” the government ministry had stated in a press statement.Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela Banco Activo

After a bid was later received from LievenseCSO, the Public Infrastructure Ministry applied for and received permission to engage the company

“Upon evaluation of the bid, it was determined that it was the best out of all that had been submitted, both on the technical level and in relation to price. Cabinet was therefore invited to consider the proposal and subsequently gave its no objection to the award of the contract and the progression of the project,” the ministry stated