Aztec Asphalt Pavers, owned by UNC financier Ishwar Galbaransingh, won a $14 million contract in January last year to build the Brickfield Packing House, despite having no prior work experience with the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco).This was confirmed in a document signed by chief executive officer of Namdevco, Ganesh Gangapersad.
In an interview, Gangapersad said Galbaransingh's company won the contract to build the Brickfield Packing House in Tabaquite because it had the lowest bid.Documents obtained by the T&T Guardian revealed that Namdevco was mandated to establish five packing houses with an initial allocation of $10 million from the 2009-2010 budget.
An additional $52 million was approved by Cabinet in 2013 for the projects to be constructed at Rio Claro/Tabaquite, Sangre Grande, Chaguanas/Couva, Tableland/Barrackpore and a temporary facility at the port of Port-of-Spain.In a note to the Tenders Committee, it was stated that tenders were invited from eight selected contractors but only seven contractors tendered for the job. These included:
�2Aztec Asphalt Pavers Ltd: $14,026,097.19.
�2 Saiscon Ltd: $14,833,405.53.
�2 Park Square Development Co Ltd: $15,199,940.
�2 Amalgamated Engineering Service Ltd: $15,797,758.15.
�2 Adam's Project Management & Construction Ltd: $15,940,227.38.
�2CPML Contractors Ltd: $17,421,461.55.
�2 ABBA General Contractors Ltd: $17,719,996.95.
After an evaluation of the tenders it was recommended that the contract be awarded to Aztec Asphalt Pavers Limited as the tender price was 11.85 per cent lower than the engineers estimate.Gangapersad said tenders were opened on January 15, 2014. Evaluation of the tenders were done by Colin Manwaring, a consultant at One Ten Architect and Planners Limited, S. Smith, manager of infrastructure and systems and Narada Latchman, director of operations.
Galbaransingh and businessman Steve Ferguson have been at the centre of a scandal in which they were accused of allegedly paying $8 million in bribes to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.The allegations were made by ILP leader Jack Warner. Galbaransingh and Ferguson are wanted in the United States on a series of charges arising out of the construction of the Piarco Airport project.
Galbaransingh faces 13 charges, among them wire fraud, conspiracy to launder money and engaging in unlawful transactions while Ferguson faces a total of 82 charges, which include wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money.The offences are alleged to have occurred in the US, T&T, The Bahamas and elsewhere between September 1,1996 and December 31, 2005.
However in 2011, Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh, presiding in the Port of Spain High Court, ruled that the men should not be extradited to the US saying to do so would be "unjust, oppressive and unlawful."