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Something not right
Former Public Transportation Services Corporation (PTSC) board chairman Terrence Beepath says he is the only person who can bring clarity in the case in which south businessman Harry Ragoonanan has been suspended from the People’s National Movement.
Beepath says it is “very strange” neither a police investigator nor any PNM official has approached him on the issue surrounding the allegations of bid-rigging for PTSC buses, especially since his name “pops up” throughout the alleged transcript conversation between Ragoonanan and a Chinese businessman which reportedly led to the suspension.
Ragoonanan’s suspension was announced on Saturday. It is alleged he attempted to manipulate a tendering process at PTSC last year.
Yesterday, Beepath said a lot of the claims and incidents surrounding the case occurred during his PTSC tenure, some involving him, so he was expecting a call long ago.
“I think I would be the first guy to be called in. I am really wondering as to what is really going on. What I found odd too is that Harry was suspended before the investigation (if there is really one) has concluded. I found things a bit suspect,” Beepath said.
Asked what the relationship between himself and Ragoonanan was and if they were related in any way, Beepath replied: “No. Harry has been in the PNM for long. I am much younger than he is and when I joined the PNM, Harry was there.”
Asked about the tender of 35 buses in question at the cost of $35 million, Beepath said when he joined the PTSC in June 2016 the process was already under way. He, however, admitted they (the Board) had raised a couple questions about it.
“We were told that they needed to spend the money by September, otherwise they would have lost the money, so we allowed everything to continue in the way it was. In order for the monies not to be lost, we allowed the process to go on,” Beepath said.
He noted that as the then chairman he stood clear of all tendering processes as there is a tenders committee for that.
“All that was done was a report was presented to the board and we looked at it to see if it was done properly. We never saw bids or prices,” Beepath said.
He said one tender was scrapped because of an error on the part of the bus company and said a report on that is currently before a Government minister.
Asked what role he thought Ragoonanan would have played, Beepath said he was not sure, as he knew back then that Ragoonanan represented Mercedes Benz and found it confusing as to why he would have been allegedly talking to his (Ragoonanan’s) competition, the Chinese.
“I have nothing to hide and I am the one to add clarity to this and I am willing to tell the truth. This has a lot more to do with something bigger. I think the way in which it was done is not the way the PNM operates, because something like this would have been called in and done privately, not in public like this,” Beepath said.