Monday 23 September, 2019

UDeCOTT threatens legal action against Moonilal

UDeCOTT Chairman Noel Garcia addresses media at press conference on Wednesday.

UDeCOTT Chairman Noel Garcia addresses media at press conference on Wednesday.

Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal may have found himself in legal trouble again, this time with the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad & Tobago (UDeCOTT).

UDeCOTT Chairman Noel Garcia says the Corporation has sought legal advice in treating with statements made by Moonilal at the United National Congress' (UNC) Monday Night Forum this week. 

On Monday night, Moonilal levelled accusations of corruption against the State company, saying there were massive cost overruns in the construction of the Prime Minister's official residence in Tobago. 

He said the project had moved from $2 million under the UNC administration to $20 million under the current administration. 

Moonilal also raised concerns that contractors working on the project were also involved in private housing developments in Tobago. 

He said he had information that the contractors were moving material from the site for use in their other projects.

The MP labelled it "Landate Two". 

Lan­date was a pri­vate hous­ing de­vel­op­ment project at Ma­son Hall, To­ba­go, owned by Sharon Row­ley, wife of Prime Minister Dr Keith Row­ley.

It was al­leged that ma­te­ri­als for use in the con­struc­tion of the Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal was si­phoned to the Lan­date project.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Garcia said Moonilal's comments were implying criminal conduct on the part of the contractors and will not be taken lightly.

He said UDeCOTT has no reports of material being removed from the site and said there is no conflict of interest in contractors working on other projects.

“There is no requirement under UDeCOTT’s procurement policies and procedures that a contractor restrains his trade by not engaging in jobs external to UDeCOTT.

The only requirement in our process is that the proponents and their affiliates shall not be hired for any other assignment which, by its nature, may conflict with the works required for the project," Garcia stated.

He said UDeCOTT reserves the right to defend itself and ensure that Moonilal's "unfounded statements" do not remain as part of the public record of UDeCOTT's activities. 

"It is unfortunate that Dr Moonilal, a former line Minister for UDeCOTT, has engaged in such reckless, unsubstantiated statements which I can only conclude were intended to bring UDeCOTT and its contractors into public odium and disrepute." 

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