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US files more charges in airport scandal

By Curtis Williams

The United States government has filed further criminal charges against Steve Ferguson, Ishwar Galbaransingh and others, alleging they defrauded the T&T Government of more than $150 million from just two packages in the Piarco Airport development project.

The money allegedly represented the earnings from overpriced contracts which, it is claimed, was won by fraud, political influence and gerrymandering of bids.

The indictment was filed last Thursday in the US.

According the United States grand jury, in a web of corruption, it was discovered that Calmaquip and another company, SDCC, both shared directors and operated out of the same offices.

They were the only bidders on package 13 of the airport contract and Calmaquip was awarded the contract since its bid was lower than SDCC, even though it was inflated by $90 million.

So overpriced was package 13, it is alleged Calmaquip made up false invoices for the purchase of pieces of equipment, including escalators.

A faxed message from Ferguson to Calmaquip read: “Please note the closing date is on Wednesday, May 20, 1998, and all documents for Calmaquip Engineering Corporation and SDC should be in Trinidad by Monday, May 18, 1998.”

Attorney General John Jeremie recently told the Senate that he had advised that Calmaquip’s maintenance of those pieces of equipment be terminated because of corruption.

In the indictment, it was alleged that Ferguson and Galbaransingh used political influence to get contracts.

The indictment, which CNC 3 television has a copy of, read, “Defendants Steve Ferguson and Iswar Galbaransingh would use political and economic influence to manipulate and control the bidding and selection process for the construction project at the Piarco International Airport.”

Accounts were opened by both Ferguson and Galbaransingh at banks in the Bahamas, while Ferguson had a second account at a Miami Bank.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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