The trial of General Secretary of the Alliance for Change (AFC) and former Public Infrastructure Minister under the previous APNU/AFC Government, David Patterson, and former General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Rawlston Adams which was scheduled to commence on Tuesday has been postponed until May 3, 2021.
This was due to the men’s failure to attend proceedings before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. Also absent was Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutor Attorney-at-law Leslyn Noble. One of Patterson’s lawyers, Ronald Burch-Smith appeared in court while Attorney-at-law Glenn Hanoman who is representing Adams appeared virtually.
Magistrate Daly informed that a notice will be sent to the SOCU prosecutor informing her of the new trial date, and thereafter adjourned the case until next month.
On March 15, 2020, both Adams and Patterson pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that between November 18, 2016, and February 1, 2018, at Georgetown, they conspired together with each other and with other persons unknown to defraud the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation of $162,635,015.
They remain out on $200,000 bail each pending the hearing and determination of the trial.
The monies mentioned in that charge were from the account of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation Asphalt Plant and were for a project about a feasibility study and design for a new bridge across the Demerara River which was not a function of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation.
In the circumstances, the Prosecution contends that the monies from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation Asphalt Plant account could not be used to conduct the feasibility study and design for a new bridge across the Demerara River.
A probe by the Public Procurement Commission into the Auditor General’s Report for the fiscal year 2016, revealed that the Public Infrastructure Ministry had breached the Procurement Act in awarding a contract in December 2016 to LievenseCSO for the feasibility study and design of the bridge.
It was also found that the then Ministry of Public Infrastructure did not heed the advice offered by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board to retender the project.