Canadian forensic accountant Robert Lindquist believes that the bid process which resulted in an award to Florida-based Calmaquip Engineering Inc for Construction Package 13 of the new Piarco Airport terminal building was flawed, and he recommended further investigation.
In his 43-page interim report which was submitted to Government in December 2000, Lindquist said investigations revealed that Calmaquip's price for the job was 100 percent above the engineer's cost estimate.
Package 13 dealt with "speciality equipment".
NIPDEC's engineer estimated a cost of $92,758,352.40. Calmaquip's price was $183,864,475.09.
The largest singular excess of Calmaquip's price over the budget estimate was in the category of "General Expenses" in the amount of $34.7 million.
The $183 million submitted by Calmaquip was for general expenses, loading bridges, baggage handling system, ramp control tower cab, x-ray/magnettometers, elevators, escalators, telecommunications systems, structure wire systems, public address system, security system, emergency power system, and FIDS and BIDS.
Calmaquip Engineering Inc was affiliated with Calmaquip (Caribbean) Limited, a company registered in Trinidad and Tobago on April 9, 1996 for dealing in all areas of electrical and electronics.
Its address, according to the company's register at the Registrar General's office was listed as 38 Dundonald street, Port-of-Spain. This was later changed to 9 London Street, Port-of-Spain.
The only two shareholders and directors of this company were former Minister of National Security Russell Huggins, an attorney, of Dundonald Street, and Wendy-Fee Thompson, attorney.
On July 1, 1999, Thompson transferred her share (one ordinary share) to Raul Guttierez, businessman, whose address was listed as 7240 NW 12th Street, Miami, Florida 33126, the registered offices of Calmaquip Engineering Inc.
On the same date, Huggins transferred his share (one ordinary share) to Rafael Portela, businessman, of Calmaquip Engineering Inc.
At a later date, Javier Amezaga, (same Miami address) was named secretary of the Calmaquip (Caribbean) Limited while Huggins continued up to 2001 as Assistant Secretary.
On April 3, 2000, in an application for a certificate of continuance of the company, Huggins informed the Deputy Registrar General of Companies that the company had not traded since its incorporation on April 9, 1996 hence the reason for the non-filing of annual returns for the years 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.
Up to November 6, 2001, the company's new address was 9 London Street, Port-of-Spain.
With respect to the probe, Lindquist pointed out that investigation should continue to determine why local companies chose not to submit bids for Package 13. He said it appeared that the tender opportunity was limited to Soares Da Costa and Calmaquip and he stated that an analysis of their apparent relationship was required.
"It is important to consider the address issue for both companies," Lindquist noted. The invitation to tender for package 13 was issued to Soares Da Costa to the attention of Mr R de Villegass at 7240 NW 12th Street, Miami Florida - the same address of Calmaquip Engineering Inc. However, the invitation to tender for Calmaquip was issued to Mr Eric Pugh at Calmaquip's office in Port-of-Spain and not to its Miami address.
Lindquist noted that Soares Da Costa had been previously invited to bid on construction packages 5 and 9 and had not shown any interest by either purchasing the tender documents or attending a pre-tender conference.
Package 5 dealt with airside paving while package 9 was building enclosure and interior decorations, both of which were won by Northern Construction Company.
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