Landfill Contractors Under Criminal Investigation

Wednesday 08th, February 2012 / 10:01 Published by

Earl Deveaux, the minister of the environment

A case involving nearly $700,000 in overpayments to contractors as part of a national landfill development project has been turned over to the police for criminal investigation.

Earl Deveaux, the minister of the environment, said the complexity of the matter and strong criminal evidence warrants the involvement of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF).

In the end, several contractors could be charged with fraud and theft by way of employment. “The matter is serious because the expenditure of public funds and accounting for public funds is a sacred trust,” Deveaux said. “These (contractors) are given tax dollars. “In the case of the contracts, it is clear that work wasn’t done. or was not done satisfactorily. Public funds were used to pay them and it was done in a manner that was inconsistent with how public funds should be used.”

The landfill project, with works dating back to 2006, sought to create landfill space in several of the Family Islands. The government secured a $23.3 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to carry out the development of 18 landfills in 10 islands.

A further $10 million was kicked in by the government, bringing the total budget of the initiative to $33.5 million. According to recent inspections by an engineering firm on Long Island, Eleuthera and Andros, contractors were grossly overpaid on several six-figure contracts.

“The contractors for Millerton, Long Island were overpaid by $146,640.00, South Eleuthera by $87,564.00, Central Eleuthera by $65,624.20, Love Hill, Central Andros by $190,301.92, and South Andros, Mangrove Cay by $178,263.50,” Deveaux said in the House of Assembly yesterday.

Shepherd U Management, another engineering firm, visited and inspected other landfills on Cat Island, Andros, Inagua and Abaco, and reported similar results.

“The contractors for North Cat Island were overpaid by $291,572.30, Kemp’s Bay, South Andros by $188,578.50, Inagua by $176,404.93 and Deadwood by $60,542.00,” Deveaux outlined.

Deveaux revealed that the estimated overpayments totaled $668,393.62, with those contractors working in landfills in South and Central Andros being the biggest offenders, followed by those working on Long Island.

The astonishing figures were initially revealed in the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) interim report towards the end of last month.

Deveaux noted that it was always designed to be a multi-year project by its very nature. However, during a visit by the IDB team between 2002-2003, Deveaux said it was discovered that the project was two years behind schedule.

In fact, only 17 percent of the work was completed at that point.

President of the Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) Stephen Wrinkle pointed out to Guardian Business how the lack of transparency in the tendering process is a huge issue that the government needs to address immediately.

“That’s one of the main problems we have in the country, the tendering process is not transparent,” he explained. “Normally in government contracts there is an independent committee that’s charged with the oversight of tenders, and it ensures that the bidding is fair and competitive.”

Deveaux defended the government’s tendering process in awarding contracts.

“The way the financial audit and administration act works, or the government tendering policy works, is that anything up to $50,000, once that is within a ministry or a department’s budget, the minister can authorize but he or she is required by the authorization to ensure that there are at least three quotes. If there are not, usually the Ministry of Finance would deny payment,” Deveaux noted.

In getting the quotes, Deveaux said a department official is required to outline the specifications that candidates must meet before it is approved.

If the contract exceeds $50,000, it requires public consultation which includes the tenders board. This board consists of several sitting permanent secretaries including the financial secretary.

“Now the contract could be selected or it could be made public. If it is selected, any ministry or agency could identify a group of competent persons to do the work, make up a list, and invite those people to bid. They must be provided with the specifications of the bid and everybody should have the same terms,” Deveaux said.

Source: The Nassau Guardian

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1 Comments on “Landfill Contractors Under Criminal Investigation

  • Title: Foriegn Contractors working in the Bahamas Illegaly

    There are far to many foriegn contractors being aloud to work in the Bahamas taking jobs from the local contractors.
    There is a firm call Coastal Systems owned by Harvey Sasso that is being allowed to roam the entire Bahamas chain of islands working with out work permits and government approvals, he may have been approved to work on one project but has never left the Bahamas and continue to remain here working illegally.
    We have qualified Bahamians here that has worked on all of the major projects here in the Bahamas but yet the foriegn company is allowed to come here and exploit the Bahamas when the opportunities should be for Bahamians, i know of a local contractor that has worked on basically all of the major resort projects that has contacted to ministers for information on contracts signed by the F>N>M> government, Mr. Neko Grant and Mr. Laing and my god they talk to the man like a dog, they should hang their heads in shame, this man has supported the F.N.M. government all his life and to they did this to one of their own.
    Mr. Sasso’s company can build a web site advertising the many projects he has worked on and services he offers, i would like to know which government minister he is working with or for, M. Prime Minister you really need to look into this the following is from his web site:
    CocoCay, Bahamas

    We were responsible for all aspects of the destination development project, including the following key components:

    Major earthworks: grading, roads and utility trenching.
    Back of house structures: layout of prefabricated steel buildings for the utilities and associated foundation.
    Sewage collection and treatment: lift stations and associated underground piping to package wastewater treatment plants with outfall and “gray” water handling.
    Electrical power generation and distribution: diesel generation system with switchgear and distribution with associated transformers.
    Water treatment and distribution: groundwater intakes and reverse osmosis water treatment plants with associated storage, pumps, and distribution system.
    Reclaimed water: toilets and irrigation.
    Solid waste handling.
    Incineration: Incinerator unit and building.
    Fuel handling and storage: offshore mooring buoy for tankers and above-ground fuel storage tanks for gas and diesel fuel.
    Fuel distribution: double wall containment storage tanks and flexible underground piping.
    Master planning: feasibility evaluations, leadership of a planning charette.
    A&E: Production of complete construction drawings for all aspects of project implementation.

    Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

    Coastal Systems worked collaboratively with NCL to plan and deliver a significant enhancement project for the island – intended to provide convenient and safe access to the island and significantly expand recreational opportunities for cruise passengers.

    Utilizing a Design/Build approach, Coastal Systems provided the following services to provide for a significantly accelerated project schedule:

    Planning Charette and Completion of Project Master Plan
    Field Investigations – Mapping and Environmental Surveys
    Coastal Engineering Analysis
    Engineering Design for Infrastructure, Marine Works, Beach Enhancements, and Site/Civil Works
    Architectural Design of Front of House and Back of House Structures
    Project Regulatory Approvals and Environmental Impact Assessment
    Construction of Project
    Construction of initial project improvements commenced in 2009, while major works (including a new marina basin, back of house area, and front of house facilities) are currently underway and scheduled for completion throughout 2010 and 2011.

    Crooked Island, Bahamas

    Our scope included site surveying and resource mapping, resulting in creation of complete basemap for the project site. A runway improvements project was designed and completed, lengthening an existing airstrip from 2,000 to 3,500 feet in length. We also developed a revised master plan which removed several single family lots in lieu of creating a waterfront village—providing optimum use of space and maximizing potential returns from sale of real estate for the developer. We utilized sophisticated architectural modeling software to create a scaled three-dimensional model of the village and project site—enabling our client to visualize the project prior to the first shovel hitting the ground.
    Mr. Ingraham, the entire building contractors community is watching to see how long will Mr. Sasso and his illegall team will be allowed to rape the bahamas, especially the Grand bahamians.
    There is more info to come on, Face Book, P.L.P org & D.N.A, all of the parties will be receiving letters of this disgraceful situation

    Electrical power generation and distribution: diesel generation system with switchgear and distribution with associated transformers.
    Water treatment and distribution: groundwater intakes and reverse osmosis water treatment plants with associated storage, pumps, and distribution system.
    Reclaimed water: toilets and irrigation.
    Solid waste handling.
    Incineration: Incinerator unit and building.
    Fuel handling and storage: offshore mooring buoy for tankers and above-ground fuel storage tanks for gas and diesel fuel.
    Fuel distribution: double wall containment storage tanks and flexible underground piping.
    Master planning: feasibility evaluations, leadership of a planning charette.
    A&E: Production of complete construction drawings for all aspects of project implementation.

    Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

    Coastal Systems worked collaboratively with NCL to plan and deliver a significant enhancement project for the island – intended to provide convenient and safe access to the island and significantly expand recreational opportunities for cruise passengers.

    Utilizing a Design/Build approach, Coastal Systems provided the following services to provide for a significantly accelerated project schedule:

    Planning Charette and Completion of Project Master Plan
    Field Investigations – Mapping and Environmental Surveys
    Coastal Engineering Analysis
    Engineering Design for Infrastructure, Marine Works, Beach Enhancements, and Site/Civil Works
    Architectural Design of Front of House and Back of House Structures
    Project Regulatory Approvals and Environmental Impact Assessment
    Construction of Project
    Construction of initial project improvements commenced in 2009, while major works (including a new marina basin, back of house area, and front of house facilities) are currently underway and scheduled for completion throughout 2010 and 2011.

    Crooked Island, Bahamas

    Our scope included site surveying and resource mapping, resulting in creation of complete basemap for the project site. A runway improvements project was designed and completed, lengthening an existing airstrip from 2,000 to 3,500 feet in length. We also developed a revised master plan which removed several single family lots in lieu of creating a waterfront village—providing optimum use of space and maximizing potential returns from sale of real estate for the developer. We utilized sophisticated architectural modeling software to create a scaled three-dimensional model of the village and project site—enabling our client to visualize the project prior to the first shovel hitting the ground.
    Mr. Ingraham, the entire building contractors community is watching to see how long will Mr. Sasso and his illegall team will be allowed to rape the bahamas, especially the Grand bahamians.
    There is more info to come on, Face Book, P.L.P org & D.N.A, all of the parties will be receiving letters of this disgraceful situation

    The relative authorities in Licensing, and the investment board needs to conduct an investigation in these matters on this firm, it has been learnt that they hace recently performed work on the Coast Guard Inagua Project and now working in E the Exumas on Tyler Perrys project illegally, this firm needs to be removed from the Bahamas and those officials involved arrested and prosecuted.

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