Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is alleging that the United National Congress (UNC) facilitated payments to Cambridge Analytica under the guise of advertising contracts through State companies.
Speaking at Tuesday night’s Local Government election meeting at Signature Hall, Montrose Chaguanas, Rowley listed payments to the tune of $13 million for a promotional campaign for the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA).
He said the payments started at $250,000 and ballooned to over $13 million within the space of a few months.
He said while Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar dismissed the Cambridge Analytica bombshell report with a “who the hell cares”, he was more curious about what Chaguaramas was advertising for that $13 million.
He said the money spent under the CDA was a “joke” compared to the spending at the National Gas Company (NGC).
Rowley presented and read from a document about suspicious transactions at the NGC.
“All of a sudden the NGC was required to have Corporate Social Responsibility projects,” he said.
Rowley said the documents detailed an examination of the records during 2010 to 2015 discloses deliberate attempts to conceal expenditure, poor record keeping, runaway and indefensible wastage of money and siphoning of money.
Rowley also detailed the tender and contract award system at the NGC under the former administration. He said that five different companies with the same list of directors would tender for a multimillion dollar contracts at NGC.
“The management said no, we are not doing it because it does not meet our tendering rules, you know what they did? They took the package of $274 million with the same fraudulent tendering arrangement, carried it from NGC to another State company, PSAEL (Palo Seco Agricultural Enterprises Ltd) and had that company award the contracts,” he said.
He said there is no documentation for the companies to use to defend themselves in court.
He read from a pile of documents and said he had another pile at home which he intends to pass to the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police for investigations.
According to the documents Rowley detailed massive misspending by the former administration at the NGC.
Rowley said under the label Communication and Branding, NGC’s spending ballooned from $57 million in 2013 to $236 million in 2015.