Daily Archives: January 24, 2013

Afra Raymond: Tangled webs of Tobago House of Assembly, BOLT and Calcutta

“…Lindquist and Interpol officers had discovered more than $1billion stashed away in off-shore accounts, arising out of corruption in the airport project…”

Tobago House of Assembly BOLT

by Afra Raymond

by Afra Raymond

With the Tobago House of Assembly THA elections having become a kind of national contest, the issues of governance and integrity loom large.  The two relevant controversial issues, both of which emerged late last year, were the THA/BOLT office project and the HDC’s proposed purchase of land at Calcutta No. 2 Settlement.

Both those projects have given me serious cause for concern in terms of proper public procurement practice, so much so that I see them as being two sides of the same coin.  Both these cases are models of inadvisable dealings in Public Money of a type which no prudent or reputable company would undertake.  I am choosing my words carefully since recent reports are that litigation has already started on the THA/BOLT project and there may well be further legal action on both projects as we go forward…

I do not at all agree with the widespread myth that corruption is a minor thing which adds maybe 10% or 15% to the cost of projects. 

That misinformation is nothing but public mischief which has blinded us to the scale of the theft of Public Money, so it must be completely demolished.  In the case of the 1970s to 1980s ‘Government to Government Arrangements’ the then PM, George Chambers, told the nation that two out of every three ‘Petro-dollars’ was wasted or stolen.  In the ongoing imbroglio over the $1.6Bn Piarco Airport project, we learned from the DPP’s S.34 statement that $1.0Bn of Public Money had been located in offshore bank accounts.

This article deals with the THA/BOLT project, which is a Public Private Partnership. The PPP is a procurement model now being pursued by this government, according to the strategy outlined in the 2013 budget.

The DPP’s S.34 Statement on Wednesday September 12, 2012

“…These cases involve allegations of a conspiracy to defraud the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago of over TT$1 billion by the fraudulent use of bonds and the rigging of the contracts for the various Construction packages for the Piarco Airport Project…”

The DPP’s full statement is here.

Also, from “Cops target MP in $1Bn airport scam” in Trinidad Guardian of Friday 5 March, 2004 –

“…TV6 News reported last night that Lindquist and Interpol officers had discovered more than $1billion stashed away in off-shore accounts, arising out of corruption in the airport project…”

BOLT

Build Own Lease Transfer (BOLT) is a subset of the PPP procurement method.  Under a BOLT arrangement a client has a facility built by the private sector at their expense – the client makes agreed rental payments so that the developer can cover the cost of building the project and a reasonable profit.  At the end of the agreed lease period, the facility is transferred to the client. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Trinidad and Tobago