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Thursday August 23, 2012

Kaieteur News

Over 100 laptops stolen from OLPF office Over 100 hundred laptops bought under the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project have been stolen from the project’s Queenstown, Georgetown office, and the Criminal Investigations Department of the Police has been called in. Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon yesterday confirmed that a “considerable number, (a number) that is distressing,” of the laptops were stolen and that the Police have been called in. Kaieteur News understands that just over 100 laptops went missing. Margo Boyce, who was recently appointed Project

- Margo Boyce new Project Manager Manager, would only say that “a police investigation is underway.” The OLPF is meant to distribute 90, 000 computers to poor families who cannot afford one. Margo Boyce, who has been associated with the OLPF and has been working from the Office of the President, was appointed two Wednesdays ago. Her appointment comes five months after “tensions” forced out Sesh Sukhdeo, who was favoured with a similar contract at the Office of the President.

Margo Boyce

The government declined to say that it fired Sukhdeo, preferring to say only that it opted to accept in delay a resignation offered by Sukhdeo earlier. “In the wake of the 2012 period of the implementation of the OLPF and an intensive review of engagements in 2011, there obviously developed some tensions and along the way the CEO offered his resignation to the Office of the President,” government’s chief spokesperson Dr. Roger Luncheon stated in midMarch.

Son charged for causing father’s - on $450,000 bail death by accident Apart from dealing with the death of his father, 21year-old Fizal Mohamed got one more thing to worry about when he was charged yesterday for causing the death of his father by accident. Mohamed faced Magistrate Hazel OctiveHamilton at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court. The charge states that on August 19 at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara, he drove his vehicle PKK 5609 dangerously. It is alleged that the man drove the car in such a manner as to cause the death of his father, Rafeek Mohamed.

Attorney-at-law Paul Fung-a-Fat, who represented Mohamed, asked for reasonable bail and told the court that the accused lived with his sick mother at Friendship Squatting Area, East Bank Demerara. The lawyer said his client had been locked up for four days and is still grieving his father’s death. No objection was made by the prosecution, with only a request for substantial bail, owing to the seriousness of the offence. Mohamed was granted bail to the tune of $450,000 bail and will return to court

More cocaine found in CJIA compound The Police are yet again reporting that more cocaine has been found in the compound of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri. According to a police statement, at about 16:45 hours on Tuesday, acting on information received, airport security officials found a packet containing 1 kilogram 978 grams of the illicit substance. The cocaine was found in the vicinity of the western perimeter fence of the compound, and has since been handed over to the police. Investigations are ongoing. Earlier this month police intercepted what is believed to be their biggest cocaine haul so far for the year at the airport. According to reports, on August 3 last, at around 23:30 hours, ranks from the Police Narcotics Branch noticed an unclaimed bag in the loading area. Upon searching the bag, which bore no name tag, they found 25 kilograms of cocaine. A number of persons

were questioned but no one was arrested. There have reportedly been several dismissals of employees of two contracted companies. Over recent times there have been questions from the international community about drugs passing through the CJIA without being detected until after leaving these shores. Prior to that seizure, on March 11 of this year, two haversacks were discovered in the airport’s compound with some 10 kilograms of cocaine. According to a police report on that matter, the discovery was made at around 00:05 hours on the day in question after police received information that the bags had been thrown over the fence. Further investigations led to the arrest of a 19-year-old man and his 21-year-old cousin, who worked with a local airline. Both men have since been charged for the offence of trafficking of narcotics.

Fizal Mohamed on October 12. According to reports, Rafeek Mohamed who was a coconut vendor lost his life at around 19:30 hours on Sunday last, when the car in which he was a passenger slammed into a pick-up near Land of Canaan, East Bank

Demerara. He was travelling with his son, wife, daughterin-law and two other family members. Reports are that Fizal Mohamed had swerved from a car which was about to turn into the Barama Company’s compound.

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Specialty hospital ...

Surendra Engineering awarded contract - lowest bidder skipped Fedders Lloyd Corporation Ltd of India, the lowest bidder for the contract to build the country’s specialty hospital, was passed over in favour of Surendra Engineering, in a bidding process that was dogged with uncertainty about what exactly is being constructed. Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon yesterday announced that Cabinet has offered its “no objection” to the award of the contract to the value of $18.1 million. He did not announce the name of the bidder, but that amount was put in by Surendra Engineering Corporation, which built the $12.8 million Enmore Packaging Plant, and which also has a US$4 million contract for the supply of 14 drainage pumps for use by the Ministry of Agriculture. The lowest bid to construct the specialty hospital on Lower East Coast Demerara was put in by Fedders Lloyd, a US$500 million group in India. The company put in a bid of US$23.2 million with a 23 per cent discount. That put its final bid cost at US$17.6 million. Fedders Lloyd put in its bid in association with Nous Hospital Consultants, an Indian company which specializes in health care projects. In the bidding process, the Ministry of Health kept altering the original bid documents, making amendments several times. In fact, six days before the opening of bids, the Project Manager Naresh Mangar was still sending addenda to the original bid document. Further, while the hospital is being touted as a specialty hospital, the requirements also

changed to accommodate a primary health care centre. And while the government has been touting that it wants to create a 150-bed hospital, in response to questions by Surendra, the Ministry of Health stated that bids would be evaluated “based on 100 beds.” The Ministry, in a response to Surendra seen by Kaieteur News, stated that “an expanded cost option of an additional 50 beds could be proposed by the bidders. The hospital is being funded with a line of credit from India of US$18 million. The government here intends to staff the hospital with specialists from India to do complicated surgeries, ranging from heart operations and organ transplants to cosmetic surgery. Preliminary works have begun at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara where the specialty hospital is intended to be built. The announcement for construction was made in February 2011 by former President Bharrat Jagdeo when he returned from India after securing a US$18M line of credit. Government had budgeted $150 million to commence the preparatory work. Cabinet awarded $97M to G. Bovell Construction Services in January 2012 to commence those works which included the construction of a fence, bridges and gateways. The other bidders for the project were Shapoorji Pallonji & Company Ltd (US$42.4 M); Jaguar Overseas Ltd of India (US$18.6 million) and Vydehi Institute of Medical Science and Research Centre of India (US$19.5 M).

Man freed of forged document charge Nkrumah Kwame Langhorne of Samatta Point, Grove, East Bank Demerara, who was charged in November last year for presenting a forged bail document to clerks at the High Court, is breathing easy now, with the case dismissed. Langhorne faced Magistrate Judy Latchman at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, and was ecstatic when he heard that the case against him could not stand, because he had no knowledge about the fake bail document. Magistrate Latchman told Langhorne that the prosecution had not established the evidence against him and she would not be calling on him to lead a defence. The Magistrate explained that the evidence before her showed that the defendant

had no knowledge about the forged document and it further proved that Langhorne was not the one who prepared the fake bail document. On November 25, the defendant faced Chief Magistrate Priya SewnarineBeharry on a charge of attempting to commit a felony, and pleaded not guilty to the offence. It was alleged that in a bid to free a drug accused on remand, Langhorne had uplifted the bogus bail paper and taken it to the High Court. It purported that a Magistrate had signed and made legitimate the document. When Langhorne turned up at the High Court, the inconsistency between the fake document and original bail documents were noticed. The police had further alleged that the defendant made inquiries about bail

applications and presented a cheque, along with the document, to bail the prisoner. It was at that point that the clerk on duty alerted authorities, and officials at the Court apprehended the man and took him into custody. He was later charged. During the trial, Langhorne’s lawyer Lennox Hanoman explained that his client was asked by a friend to bail another friend using the document that was provided. The court heard that the defendant did not know the person he was going to bail at the High Court. Hanoman stressed that his client knew the friend of the person he was going to bail. That same friend via mail sent the documents, and asked his client to bail the drug accused who was at the

time in custody. The court also heard that the defendant got the mail from an express shipping company and took it to the High Court. Unaware of court procedures, his client sought to explain the instructions given to him by the friend and presented the bail document to the clerk on duty. It was not until Langhorne was arrested that he realized the invalidity of the document, Hanoman stated. Subsequent to the prosecution closing the matter, Hanoman submitted that his client lacked knowledge in the matter. The court agreed with Hanoman that his client had no case to answer. Langhorne was let off with advice that he should be careful about accepting and presenting documents.

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