Daily News– On Friday, General Secretary for the Alliance for Change (AFC), David Patterson was hauled before the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and was charged with attempts to defraud the Demerara Harbor Bridge. Former General Manager of the DHB was also called in for questioning.
The AFC is condemning the actions by SOCU and is calling it a “political attack” on Patterson.
“Today, (Friday) Mr. Patterson responded to an invitation to visit the offices of the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU), where, on his arrival, was surprisingly told that he was being charged in connection to an allegation relating to the procurement process for the feasibility study of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.”
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure, under the leadership of David Patterson, sole sourced to LievenseCSO, the feasibility study for the new Demerara River Crossing.
On Wednesday last, the matter came up for discussion before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). It was revealed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Works, Vladim Persaud, that some 22 companies submitted expression of interest for the study back in 2017, but, only 12 were shortlisted. Out of the lot, two submitted proposal and one had the technical capabilities to do the study.
He further noted that the company did not meet the requirements as set out by the Government therefore, it was not chosen.
The PS further noted that the David Granger Government did not re-tender the contract, but, went to sole sourcing. LievenseCSO was eventually hand picked and approval was granted after Patterson took the matter to Cabinet.
The party said that, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Juan Edghill is on a path “of revenge and malignment against Mr Patterson”.
This is the second time the matter is being investigated by law enforcement.
“The allegations made against David Patterson were thoroughly and independently investigated by the Guyana Police Force, and based upon advice tendered by the Police Legal Advisor, Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, it was determined that there was not an iota or scintilla of evidence to charge Mr. Patterson on, or to even entertain an allegation or complaint of illegality (Attached is a copy of the advice rendered in this investigation),” the AFC added.
Further, “the AFC will defend Mr. Patterson and all its members against any spurious and malicious attacks orchestrated by the government, its agents, and paid social trolls, who have in recent weeks launched a vicious attack against our members.”
Patterson is in the spotlight as of recent for receiving expensive gifts from agencies which fell under his preview while being Minister of Public Infrastructure. Something which he denied at first, but after evidences surfaced on the purchases, Patterson buckled under pressure and admitted receiving same.
The former Minister is expected to face the Courts on Monday on charges to defraud the DHB.