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Saturday 21 October 2017
Politics

SWMCOL admits $M contract on ‘friendship’

The Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) has admitted, in a case in the High Courts, that it gave a million-dollar contract in 2009, based on information shared during a ‘friendship relationship’, between its chief financial officer and the person who was eventually awarded the contract.

The revelation was made in SWMCOL’s filing of a defence to a lawsuit brought by VENTEC Limited of Cascade Road, Port of Spain which is suing SWMCOL for $454,990.25 plus VAT, being the difference of a $2.4 million contract, to develop computer accounting software for SWMCOL.

SWMCOL is a wholly-owned State enterprise responsible for solid and hazardous waste materials and the management of three of the country’s landfills in Beetham, Forres Park and Guanapo. In a lawsuit filed in the San Fernando High Court, VENTEC managing director Peter Moralles stated that in June 2009, he met with SWMCOL’s then chairman Carlton Watson whom he stated, complained that SWMCOL’s board had a limited idea of the company’s expenditure and no knowledge of the true profit or loss incurred. Moralles claims he was granted a contract based on meetings he held between Anthony Taitt who was SWMCOL’s chief financial officer and chairman Watson. Moralles claims he commenced developmental work on a financial software and prepared SWMCOL’s monthly reports.

However, when he completed the company’s last monthly electronic financial report and submitted it to SWMCOL, Moralles claimed he stopped receiving communication. The market value of the contract was $2,400,000, but he received only part of that. He is suing for the rest of the money.

In a defence filed in January, SWMCOL stated that the full term of the agreement between the parties was set out in a service contract entered on September 4, 2009. SWMCOL attorneys MG Daly & Company stated that Taitt was a close friend of Moralles, prior to the former being employed at SWMCOL. The case will come up for hearing next month before Justice Robin Mohammed in the San Fernando High Court. Attorney Christopher Parsad is representing Moralles while Sashi Indarsingh and Christopher Sieuchand both of MG Daly and Co are the filing and advocate attorneys respectively for SWMCOL.

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