You are here
Questions over $60m Namdevco contract
Questions have been raised about the manner in which M&M Insurance Brokers, the company selected to provide insurance coverage for $60 million worth of assets owned by the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco), was sidelined and replaced by 21st Century Insurance and Reinsurance Brokers.
The contract involves an annual premium of approximately $600,000 to cover the state company’s fleet of vehicles and other assets, including the Southern Wholesale Market in Debe, the Norris Deonarine Northern Wholesale Market at Macoya, Orange Valley Wholesale Fish Market, Port-of-Spain Wholesale Fish Market, Valencia Farmers Retail Facility and the Piarco Packinghouse Facility
A copy of the evaluation scoresheet obtained by T&T Guardian showed that M&M Insurance Brokers topped the evaluation process and was awarded 80.75 per cent. The technical evaluation committee was headed by deputy chief executive officer Alvin Seereeram and members Ian Cox, Rishma Rampersad and Prakash Ragbir .
However, for reasons unknown, the contract was awarded to 21st Century Insurance, a company owned by Wayne Gosine, brother of Neil Gosine, managing director of Comprehensive Insurance Brokers and chairman of National Petroleum Marketing Co Ltd.
Bids were submitted by five other companies. They were Agostini Insurance Brokers, Risk Management Services Ltd, Insurance Brokers West Indies Ltd (IBWIL) and Comprehensive Insurance Brokers Ltd (CIBL). The companies were awarded in the following categories:
• General background—10 per cent
• Qualifications and experience—10 per cent
• Manpower—20 per cent
• Compliance—10 per cent
• Professional indemnity—20 per cent
• Quotation—20 per cent
• Financial capability—10 per cent
Based on the evaluation, M&M Insurance was selected as the preferred contractor of the job ahead of 21st Century Insurance with 74.50 per cent. Placing third was Agostini, followed by IBWIL, Risk Management and CIBL. In the overall assessment of the companies, members of the tenders evaluation committee stated: “All firms were generally strong in general background, qualifications and experience and compliance.”
However, the committee said in categories of professional indemnity, quotation and financial capability, the companies differed. It was noted that the committee was challenged by time constraints and made a suggestion for a consultant to be hired in the future. However, the committee said: “Based on the rankings, M&M Insurance, which placed first with 80.75 per cent, is recommended for consideration.”
The contract was first awarded for a three-month period and was renewed in July for one year. “It was not a board decision to award the contract to 21st Century. That was a unilateral decision and there is evidence to substantiate that M&M Insurance was the recommended company for the job. The rules continue to be broken to facilitate certain people,” a board member told the T&T Guardian.
Vasant Bharath, who was Food production minister at the time, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Telephone calls and text messages to the minister went unanswered. Namdevo chairman Robert Ramsamooj yesterday denied any involvement in the award of the contract.
He told the T&T Guardian: “According to the state performance manual by which we are guided, the chairman ought not to be a member of the tenders committee. It was a decision of the tenders committee of which I was not part.”
Devant: Board facing personality issues
Line minister Devant Maharaj admitted the board was facing challenges. “The board has personality differences among members which pose additional challenges,” he said. “The last board minutes I received did not include the award of that contract. If the contract was renewed in July that would have been shortly after the reconfiguration and at that time I was not briefed on all matters relating to Namdevco.”
Maharaj said he had submitted a report with recommendation to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar relating to the board of Namdevco. He also used the opportunity to comment on the questionable appointment of chief executive officer (CEO) Krishna Ramrattan.
Ramrattan evaluated consultancy proposals submitted for the executive recruitment process—including the position he now holds. He then sent a detailed listing of the proposals to Ramsamooj, who was part of the panel interviewing applicants for the position of CEO, via e-mail.
Five board members are being investigated by the Integrity Commission in connection with irregular hiring practices. Maharaj, who pointed out that the contract was awarded before he was appointed line minister, said: “The CEO was given a valid contract before I took over. Do I say the contract is null and void at this point? You will expect big men and women should know better, but this is what happens.”
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.