|AG: Galicia contract ‘no value for money’ |
COREY CONNELLY Sunday, April 16 2017
Unwilling to reveal details of documents relating to the award of the contract to lease the the Super Fast Galicia until his perusal of the material is completed, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi yesterday said the content, “on the face of it demonstrates significant and serious issues in relation to procurement.” “This intersects with how the UNC cabinet treated with the position and in those circumstances, this particular matter and the significant inconvenience caused to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, that is, the withdrawal of the Galicia, has really come to the forefront,” he told Sunday Newsday.
“It appears that the value for money considerations and the procurement exercise, under the UNC are really significant issues on the table which will be the subject of the advice and opinion to be proffered.
I prefer to have all of the material properly examined to make a comprehensive statement in relation to the matter.” The award of the contract to lease the Super Fast Galicia was undertaken in 2014 during the term of the former People’s Partnership Government.
Al-Rawi has already given an undertaking to complete his analysis of the documents this week, following which he will provide his legal opinion and recommendation as to whether there was any wrongdoing in the award of the contract.
The AG’s statement came as Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal chastised the People’s National Movement (PNM) Government for failing to implement procurement measures since assuming office in 2015.
“The steadfast refusal by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to implement procurement measures has made the Galicia corruption possible,” Moonilal said in a statement.
He recalled that the Government, in its 2016-2017 Budget, had said the the procurement regulator and Board of Procurement Regulation would have been established within a six-month period and that “by the end of March, if not before,” all agencies that procure and dispose of public property would old be able to do so in accordance with the Public Procurement Act.
“But this has turned into yet another failed promise fro m the bungling and clueless Rowley regime,” Moonilal said. The MP said Rowley’s “revelation of the Galicia bobol is a raw admission of incompetence and recklessness by his useless regime.
“He must be held directly responsible for the theft of taxpayers’ money, which has taken during the PNM’s term of office.” In response, Al-Rawi said Moonilal ought to know that the appointment of the procurement regulator was contingent upon an amendment to the legislation which the UNC agreed to in its Government’s Joint Select Committee as it relates to the term of the regulator.
He said this was only recently passed in the Senate.
The AG said Moonilal also ought to know that the law prescribed that the President is responsible for the appointment of the regulator and could obviously not complete the appointment with the amendment to the law in place.
Al-Rawi said Moonilal’s statement is intended to “mask the real scandal of the UNC government coming to the public’s attention.” Government is on the hunt for an alternative inter-island cargo vessel.