ACTIVIST Devant Maharaj has alleged the PTSC had sold off a virtually new bus worth $1 million for a pittance of $9,500 at an auction attended by just a handful of people in the know.
“Many persons complained that the auction was not well known and only friends and family of the PNM attended,” he said in a statement.
He said the PTSC board held an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss how to explain this issue to the media.
Maharaj told Newsday he had once unearthed a racket in the PTSC’s sale of buses.
“When I was at the PTSC we never auctioned off derelict buses, but sold them for scrap iron.
“What I had learned as chairman is that people at PTSC would say a bus was derelict and we should auction it off, but then their partner would come and buy it.”
Such buses would then be fixed up and used for party-style bus-rides, he said.
“It was excursions all over the place. But I stopped that. I picked up on the racket.”
Asked about his current complaint, Maharaj said, “The auction was for old buses, but a new bus got passed in the rush.”
Newsday asked if new procurement legislation would curb any dubious disposal of state property. He said the new legislation has only been partly proclaimed, to set up the office of Procurement Regulator, but not to alter procurement/disposal practices.
However, he said existing law already regulates asset disposal.
“The Central Tenders Board Act has a procedure you have to follow to auction off state property. You have to get it valued, get approval and follow a set of procedures.
“Although the Procurement Act has not been fully proclaimed, the Central Tenders Board Act is still in effect.”
Maharaj reckoned the Government would proclaim the procurement law just before the general election.
Newsday called PTSC chairman Edwin Gooding and Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan for comments but could not contact them.