Contract void of bond certification, space was for professional office

Posted On Jan 12 2020 by

first_img… Govt expenses exceed monthly rental of .5MThe drug bond scandal continues to blow up in Government’s face, with the contract now confirming thatThe building was for a professional office, not a bondthere is no proof that the Sussex Street Bond is compliant with international health and safety requirements and that the landlord would be receiving exceedingly generous benefits.An unsigned contract (Agreement of Tenancy) between the Public Health Ministry and the controversial warehouse owned by Linden Holdings Inc was circulated to parliamentarians on Thursday.Among the number of red flags contained in the document, the most alarming is that the parties involved agreed that the building would be used for a professional office as opposed to a drugs warehouse.This would explain why the building, which critics and experts have since argued is not certified to properly store pharmaceuticals, is presently under renovation while simultaneously keeping drugs which will be distributed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and other public health agencies for usage by the public.Government was adamant that the building is certified by the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) for the storage of pharmaceutical supplies; however, the contract bears no such stipulation despite the criticalness of this bit of information.Additionally, the released contract shows that the landlord will be benefiting greatly from this deal, particularly with provisions to hold the property for three years along with a 12-month notice of termination.Exceeding expensesThe contract reveals that Government might have undervalued, whether deliberately or unintentionally, the expenses it will incur in renting the bond.In addition to the $12.5 million monthly rent which will be paid to Linden Holdings Inc for usage of the building, the contract outlines that Government will pay the required Value Added Tax (VAT) to the Guyana Revenue Authority. Inclusive of VAT, the rent would total $14.5 million instead of the $12.5 million that Government was touting.The contract stipulates also that Government would be responsible for paying utility bills to the Guyana Power and Light and Guyana Water Inc.While it was reported that Government made an upfront payment of $25 million to the company, it was demanded in the contract an advance of $37.5 million – representing two months’ rent in advance and one month’s rent as a security deposit.The Government also agreed to stand the expenses to maintain the building, including cleaning, regular and emergency repairs, the servicing of the air conditioning units, etc.The contract stipulates that if Government fails to execute the functions within a stipulated timeframe, the landlord will take up the responsibility and all costs incurred will be recoverable from Government as if it were rent in arrears.CorruptionCommenting on these revelations, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo charged that the deal is undoubtedly a blatant act of corruption on the part of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.“This scandalous corrupt act demonstrates the level of petulance, fickleness, lack of transparency and accountability, and irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money,” he expressed in a statement to the media late Thursday evening.Just the day before, the former President alluded to a possible major cover-up within Cabinet, among a number of senior Government officials in relation to the drug bond deal.He called for the contract to be terminated and that an external investigation be launched into the undertakings.NEW GPCFurther, Jagdeo asserted that Government is attempting to fool the public into believing they grabbed a better deal, when in reality, they are desperately trying to cover-up corruption.“Which competent and responsible Cabinet would approve a contract of $12.5 million VAT exclusive ($14.5 million) for a 6000 square foot residential building versus $19 million VAT inclusive for a 70,000 square foot modern internationally certified pharmaceutical bond? Per square foot the Government is paying $2416 for a 6000 square foot building versus $271 for a 70,000 square foot fully equipped and certified pharmaceutical bond! This can only be seen as an act of corruption,” he stated.Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton had told the National Assembly that the fees charged by NEW GPC INC at $19.2 million a month to store the pharmaceuticals were too exorbitant.Dr Norton also mislead the house when he indicated that Government had raked in exorbitant expenses by paying NEW GPC for the warehouse services. However, it was revealed that NEW GPC never received any rent from the Government of Guyana for use of its state-of-the-art storage facility for over a decade.ApologyNorton is expected to issue an apology to the Speaker of the National Assembly today.But, Jagdeo contended that the “crocodile tears” is nothing but a media gimmick to garner sympathy from the public.He also raised concerns about this apology coinciding with the People’s National Congress’ 19th Biennial Delegates Congress which begins today.“Coinciding with this ‘mea culpa’, the Government has moved into full PR mode; Cabinet Ministers have jumped into the fray to cover up the stench of this corrupt act!” he stated.The Opposition Leader also rejected sentiments expressed by AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan that the entire situation is a human error.Linden Holdings Inc is a company whose majority shareholder is listed as Larry Singh.last_img read more