Workers caught back-dating deals

New EFCL board unearths secret operation

By Darren Bahaw and Renuka Singh
November 14, 2015 –

CorruptionA secret contract millhouse was discovered at the Education Facilities Company Ltd (EFCL) in Maraval, and armed guards have been called in to secure a mountain of potentially damning evidence which points to the illegal manufacturing of backdated tender documents worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The discovery was made one day after the new board of the state-owned company suspended its Chief Executive Officer Kiran Shah and Chief Operating Officer Sharma Maharaj over claims of impropriety.

Informed sources told the T&T Guardian that a member of the board found the “secret room” on the first floor of the Maraval building, which is opposite the Country Club and also houses the main branch of FirstCaribbean International Bank (Trinidad and Tobago) Ltd. EFCL occupies the second floor of the building and, unknown to staff, another room was rented on the first floor.

Sources said a new board member was stunned after finding three people busy at work in the “secret room” and called in security after realising they were working on EFCL business. The three people in the room, and another who was subsequently found to be part of the same operation, were sent home and their access to information technology at the company was suspended, sources said.

Accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers has been called in to conduct a forensic audit of the company and has already taken a snapshot of the systems used in the ‘millhouse.’

Sources said they have already discovered that the four select employees were hired to create contracts and tender documents for several existing projects which were already paid for in full. This was being done, according to company insiders, to validate the tendering processes to make them appear transparent and legal.

A preliminary report has revealed that contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars were given out to select contractors in the run-up to the September 7 general election and they were paid in full without any work being done. Two contractors, who are financiers of the United National Congress, have been identified as the major beneficiaries of the scheme, sources said.

Sources said the forensic audit and a criminal investigation by the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau, which began in April, triggered this week’s suspension of the two executive officers.

A whistleblower initially went to the police with a 108-page dossier detailing several instances of fraud and mismanagement. This sparked a police investigation centering around the award of several contracts over the last five years.

Sources said efforts had been made to axe the whistleblower but she stood up against her employers.

The T&T Guardian also learned that the execs’ suspensions come mere months after the dismissal of a female civil engineer who clashed with the seniors over the contract with a preferred EFCL contractor.

Contacted yesterday, recently installed EFCL chairman Arnold Piggott confirmed the suspensions and audit.
Full Article :

10 thoughts on “Workers caught back-dating deals”

  1. As we are awakened to the news of what is taking place in Paris today, we should become cognizant of our own vulnerabilities. We like to call our “sweet Trinidad and Tobago”, land of freedoms and freeness. This blog is a snapshot of the kind of thinking that occupy our minds, our wishes, our egos, our fear of each other, our obsession with wealth, fame, fortune, aspirations and yes, domination of those we consider lesser beings. Of course all of those things are just intangibles that we hope will grow our mindset and keep us to enjoy freedoms and freeness. We are in times that the good Lord allows us to have and feel the beauty and peace of his creation. We feel the beauty of his creation when the soft breezes of the Caribbean sea brushes against our faces. We take in the lush landscape of the beautiful green vegetation surround ding us, the mountains of the holy trinity reminding us why we are here, as we survey the flat lands of Caroni and sweet music of the steel pan. We were blessed to have invented our own “sweet music” at a time when Europe was engaged in war amongst themselves and we were deprived of their instruments to make music. We have created our own inequities. In the last five years, there is evidence of greed and corruption. Some of us have taken it for granted that it is the way things ought to be, whilst others are wondering how are we to take care of our loved ones. In the face of so much, we watch with envy, our pristine lands that we fought so hard to acquire from our slave masters been giving away to the wealthy and prosperous. They are the new favorite. Yes, the pristine virgin lands of Chaguaramas are now in the hands of those who did not even lift a finger for it. That hurts those of us who toiled and gave our lives for this freedom and freeness. We now have to bow in subservience to the new masters, whose whose qualifications were the the campaign contributions they gave to put their friends in power. We now have to salute them on their “achievements”. Those who admirers of them tell us that we are lazy and unproductive yet, so no wrong being committed. Over $300B of our money was spent in our country but where and how was that distributed? We had our money going to the favorite contractors, favorite investors, favorite communities and yes favorite people. The jobs that determined whether we prosper or fail given to those without the requisite qualifications. When the good times were threatened, we called a state of emergency and declared instability. We saw not-so-favorite peoples were hounded, arrested and placed in jail. They came from communities that are considered not-so-favorable by the last administration, they were of the same ilk and skin color. They were considered “uneducated” and under privileged. They were never charged with the crimes they were accused of, all seven thousand of them. It was just the fear of uprising that caused them to round them up like animals and imprison them. We just came from massive celebrations of “light over darkness”. We are told that light is good and dark is bad. Light is good, dark is evil. This same concept also applies to the skin tone.
    We are told that based their concept of creation, some of us are superior and some inferior. We are told that depending on which parts of the human anatomy represented our birth right, we became prosperous our we are destined to be of service to the favored. We are told that those whose ancestors toiled to develop the virgin lands into urban metropolises must now stand back and make room for those who celebrate their “arrival” into this country. Have we no shame? Their gods have validated them to be the landlords and us the tenants. This is a synopsis of the mindset in which we live in our sweet Trinidad and Tobago today.
    If suddenly, as we see in Paris, some disgruntled members of our society were to take it upon themselves, to use methods to destroy our civility in our cities and towns to create havoc of untold proportions, what would we do? We have already created the environment for instability. Whilst we fight and worry about who should run Petrotrin our biggest earner of foreign reserves, that Company is now steep into debts of untold proportions. The management of the past five years were unproductive and worked against the interest of the country. We are now facing a possible reduction of close to five thousand workers in order to reduce debts. We are not allowed to burrow until 2019 to have access to credits to upgrade our plants and industry. What about the fallout from this scenario? The potential for upheaval is real all because we elected those who wished only to serve themselves and not the country. We read it in every newspapers, in every blog. We read how “we” and good and “them” is bad. Meanwhile, there is less production, less resources, less new ideas and more demands for the freedoms and freeness that those in power the last five years were dishing out as Santa Claus. We are not in good shape. And as we observe the horrors of what is taking place in Paris, we have to be vigilant in ensuring that the big pieces of the pie that is Trinidad and Tobago it NOT distributed to only one set of people whilst at the time depriving another the same opportunities.

    1. The above abuse of privilege and garrulousness should have been trimmed down by quite a bit.
      That’s all.

  2. This discovery should come to us as no surprise. It is exactly what happens when unqualified people are put to run large enterprises. Worse yet, when the number one criterior of race is used for qualification we will always end up with that kind of situation. George Orwell said “The further a society moves away from the truth, the more they will hate those who speak it”.
    The UNC was bad news from the day they took up the reins of government. The benevolent ones insisted to “give them a chance”. With all that we know that went on publicly before our own eyes, there should be no surprise that this kind of things went on. Dr. Rowley was absolutely correct in the way he approached governing. Let us have the the whistle blower bill passed, then we begin disecting this and more of what went on in every sector of our economy. One of the things the new government should start thinking about is this. IT SHOULD NEVER BE JUST THE PREROGATIVE OF ONE PERSON (THE PRIME MINISTER) TO NOMINATE A CANDIDATE FOR HEADING ESSENTIAL STATE RUN ENTERPRISES.
    THOSE ENTERPRISES ARE OUR BREAD AND BUTTER. SO, IF SOMEONE IS TO RUN IT, WE THE CITIZENS SHOULD HAVE PROPER HEARINGS ON THOSE WHO WISHED TO GAIN CONTROL OF ITS MANAGEMENT. IN other words, when a person is so nominated, the country should be apprised of what qualifies such a person to have such assets under their control. Proper committees should be set up to challenge the appointments with the powers of rejection if necessary. Many of these people just came from the woodworks and with only a background of being a friend of the financier of the party in power. THIS SHOULD STOP IMMEDIATELY. LET US HAVE LEGISLATION TO SET UP COMMITTEES OF MEN AND WOMEN OF INTEGRITY, TO PROBE THE BACKGROUND OF THOSE WISHING TO RUN THESE ENTERPRISES, BEFORE THEY CAN BE GIVEN THE APPROVAL TO GET THE JOB.

  3. Sources said efforts had been made to axe the whistleblower but she stood up against her employers.

    May the Most High continue to expose the wicked, and protect the innocent.


  4. Nothing to do with MOST HIGH. we/you, have to stand up, look around, ask your self, Am I helping the GOVERNMENT/ COUNTRY TO be BETTER. Can I help the Leader to correct the MADNESS, TIEFING, CRIME,HAVE GOOD GOVERNANCE, LOCK UP THESE MAD FOLKS. T&T have to get DISCIPLINE. SORRY, no one from above, or far away, is coming to HELP. STAND UP, SPEAK OUT, YOU are the Government. so help your self, to do the right thing

  5. Notice the absence of the Town Criers and cyber warriors who usually quickly step forth to throw the teflon protection over image and reputation of the Satira Queen. I mean no one can make this up.

    I constantly draw attention between the PPP regime in our sister Caricom nation Guyana, and the UNC/PP regime that them PNM women rallied the people to get out of office. The revelation discovered by both parties succeeding these two regimes are exactly the same. it is though they were coordinating their corrupt practices. Shady companies, shady deals, and back dating records to cover up fraud. Like I said, you cannot make this up.

  6. “Rowley said he was determined to stop this $1.2 billion project and even wrote to President Anthony Carmona, in March 2014, asking him to intervene.

    “I sought an audience with the President and wrote to him, asking him to intervene under Section 81 of the Constitution and call on the (then) PM to explain the actions of her government in facilitating this raid on the monies in NGC accounts,” he said.”

    If as stated, the Prime Minister is saying that the sitting President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was asked to grant him an audience, to meet with with him on matters involving the corruption of a $1.2B project and the President did not as a matter of courtesy, offered a reply, then we as citizens of this country have to wonder. What kind of people do we have managing our affairs? The President? The most respect office in the land? The then Opposition Leader asking for an audience and not even a reply? The President not even acknowledging the Official Leader of the Opposition? Is Carmona for real? Is this the same man who, at every chance he gets, always admonishing the population of their responsibilities? No! I can’t believe that.
    No wonder why the country is in such array. Policies run governments, not personalities. But judging from this report coming directly from the Prime Minister, we have to be concerned about our country and those we are asked to have respect for. This is like a teacher in school, asking to meet with the principal about a student who has matches and gas to burn down the school and the principal turns his back on the teacher, without acknowledging his complaint. When this occurs at the very pinnacle of power in the government, then I believe that there is need for serious introspection of those whom we ascribe powers to and not turn our backs on them, for fear that they might not seek our interests. In a well organized country, there will be investigative committees sitting on this lack of jurisdictional prudence on the part of the President and may even consider some form of impeachment. But this is Trinidad and Tobago where we should be “afraid” of status and appointments.
    If nothing is done, it will be considered a dark day in our history and behavior of the President of the Country.

    1. You said “in a well organised country…..”. I think you can have stopped here or near here.
      Trinidad is not an organised Country–“organised” meaning what the Dictionary says. It’s that serious.

  7. Alyssa my sister I do not need to reread that 2008 or 2009
    Newsday article. I know of it, read it back then.

    From my childhood days I became aware that this was common among many Indian family members. I recall in a conversation with one friend he told me his father and mother does not want his sister to have anything to do with black men. She was about 14 at the time, and according to him, when his mothers adult brother visited over night, he would sneak into their room and get into her bed. He and his sister shared the same room.

    He said he told his mother but she scolded him and told him that his mind was dirty because the uncle was not doing her anything. I guess they were more liberal about incest than they were about inter racial copulation.

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