GPL Board approves purchases of vehicles from company its Chairman is CEO of

Guyana Power and Light Company employees are calling on the Audit Office of Guyana to investigate what they say is a “conflict of interest” which resulted in the purchase of two vehicles valued at $15 million from a company headed by the Chairman of the GPL Board Maurice Gajadhar. This call comes as the power company workers are demanding that the company also approve the collective labour agreement which proposed varying increases from 2020-2022. 

A small group of employees who say they opt to make these calls independent of their union and anonymously explained that their their union representative and General Secretary of NAACIE, Dawchan Nagasar also sits on the Board as a director and has failed to speak out about the conflict of interest. Nagasar who is a member of the Board since August 2020, along with other board members would have approved the purchase of these vehicles from the Chairman’s company. 

                                                                                                      (One of the two vehicles parked in front of GPL, Main Street)

In January the power company invited bids for two SUVs. The vehicles were purchased from Rudisa Motor Company Guyana Inc. The Chairman of that Company is Maurice Gajadhar. He is also the current chairman of the GPL board. 

One employee familiar with the issue described this facilitation of the transaction as a conflict of interest, “clearly you would have the upper hand in winning the bid if you are sitting as the chairman and have access to all the rules and regulations in respect to the purchase manual and other details,” the person explained. 

                                                                                                                  (Invitation to bid published on January 28th, 2021)

In a statement, the power company maintains that the vehicles were purchased through a national competitive bidding process, “Five bids were received and were comprehensively evaluated in accordance with the Company’s Procurement Manual,” the company said as it said that the contract was awarded to the lowest evaluated bidder. 

“For clarity, these vehicles, which are the property of the Company are utilized by the Executive Directors in the execution of their duties,” GPL said in its statement. 

The staffers who spoke with this publication accused the Company of endorsing the conflict of interest, “This statement, is clearly telling its readership that there is nothing wrong with the Chair of the Board of a company approving purchases of vehicles from another company – of which both companies, Mr Gajadhar is directly related to and has management oversight – this gross conflict of interest, is a matter of interest, and the Auditor General should probe this issue,” the staffers said. 

They maintained that the Chairman who has access to all the “hidden fine prints” concerning bidding for the vehicles and would have “gotten advantageous points over the other bidders.”