Former CEO costs GuySuCo US$75M, abused company laws

Former CEO costs GuySuCo US$75M, abused company laws

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 | BY | By Kiana Wilburg

– Reportedly traded sex for salary increase and promotion with Rose Hall employee

Former GuySuCo CEO, Rajendra Singh

It didn’t take the coalition government much digging to unearth some of the unimaginable infractions committed by Dr. Rajendra Singh when he served as CEO of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

Government reportedly has “indisputable” evidence to justify Dr. Singh’s dismissal. The government cited the violation of GuySuCo’s procurement procedure for equipment, spares and other items, the infringement of the corporation’s disciplinary procedure and the contravention of the corporation’s procedure regarding recruitment, promotion and remuneration of employees.  

But Dr. Singh is threatening the government with legal action over his dismissal which he claims is without cause.

According to documents, Singh deviated from a decision handed down by the previous Cabinet and authorized the sale of 2.6792 acres of land at Plantation Good Hope, East Coast Demerara to one Kelvin Gobin.

The former CEO also engaged in the procurement of one whole stalk harvester for mechanized harvesting at the cost of $19.2M despite technical advice to the contrary from the corporation’s technical personnel.

“This machine is a wasted asset wholly unsuitable for operation throughout the entire cultivation,” one document stated.

Dr Singh also entered into management agreements with Global Casetech and Global Cane Sugar services out of India for the management services on a number of estates at unreasonably high cost and without approval of the board of directors.

Research into the financial accounts of GuySuCo, found that Dr. Singh had “deliberately misled” Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder, on the true financial state of the company prior to the passing of the 2015 budget.

He had said that GuySuCo only had sufficient cash flow to sustain it until the end of May and subsequently informed the unions that due to inadequate funds, the corporation was on the brink of closure by the end of May 2015 as it would be unable to pay employees.

What is also troubling to the coalition government is Dr. Singh’s violation of GuySuCo’s Code of Conduct. He allegedly used his position to elicit sexual favours from an employee at Rose Hall.

He purportedly rewarded her with a promotion and increased remuneration. “This goes against the grain of the company’s promotion and remuneration procedure and the labor agreement between the corporation and The National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE),” a report stated.

Kaieteur News also understands that Dr. Singh persisted with a commercial bio-fertilizer project despite advice to the contrary from the corporation’s research and technical personnel.

The former CEO, on his own initiative, engaged in sole sourcing of bio fertilizers from Kay Bouvet Engineering Ltd. of India to the tune of US$76, 688 in June 2014 and from Global Cane Sugar Services Pvt. Ltd. of India in the sum of US$68,580 in February 2015.

Despite being cautioned numerous times regarding the whole scale of adaptation of a practice that has not been used outside of India, the former CEO persisted with commercial application rather than a trial as advised.

Further, on a number of occasions, he left the jurisdiction for matters unrelated to the business of the Corporation for extended periods without informing and without obtaining leave from the board of directors.

The former CEO also made decisions which resulted in millions of dollars being lost by GuySuCo.

The documents reveal that Singh had responsibility for finance and marketing for the company and entered into a one-year agreement with Tate and Lyle in 2013 when the company could have entered into one for three years while locking in at a higher sugar price for 2014 and 2015.

This was the first time in the history of the Long Term Agreement (LTA) with Tate and Lyle that a one-year agreement was entered into. The failure to enter into a three-year agreement resulted in a conservatively estimated loss of US$60M in revenue for the corporation for the years 2014 and 2015.

During his time as CEO, he also committed 38,000 tonnes of sugar to Futures Market without locking in a price. The buying price was US$0.16 per pound. The current price is now US $11 per pound. This decline resulted in a loss of revenue in the sum of US$4.2M for GuySuCo.

But the infractions listed in the document do not stop there. In a bid to defy the odds and criticisms from various quarters that GuySuCo was ailing, poorly mismanaged and could not reach its production targets, Dr. Singh did the unthinkable.

He instructed operational management to bring forward unprecedentedly high acreages of cane to achieve the revised production targets in 2014 and first crop for 2015:

Last year, 5,272.5 hectares of cane averaging 48.3 tonnes of Cane per Hectare (TCH) were brought forward.

The document also notes that there are even more infringements on the part of Dr. Singh.

The former CEO through his Attorney-at-law, Ashton Chase, S.C is hoping to settle the matter with GuySuCo. If this route is not successful, they will move to the courts.

Dr. Singh is suing for wrongful dismissal. He said that his contract which came into effect in May 2013, allows him to be employed for a period of five years.

In a letter addressed to GuySuCo, the lawyer outlines that Dr. Singh’s contract had about three more years to run and six months remuneration in lieu of notice would not be unreasonable.

Chase said, too, that his client’s “complementary benefits” should not be overlooked. These include coverage for telephone, electricity and water services and the provision of a vehicle and a driver.

In addition, Chase said that Singh is due six weeks leave, leave passage of $1,168,081 and a gratuity every six months. They are hoping to reach an agreement on his basic net salary which was US$12,530 per month and $70,000 for other allowances.

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  • Victot T Layne  On 09/04/2015 at 1:49 am

    First class Managers recruit First class employees and No class recruit the Slime from the bottom which brings me to the High Profile Management under Harold
    Davis when GUYSUCO employees had to perform to the highest level and they did because the Chairman ensured that there never any square peg in round holes and what is more annoying is for the Indo-Guyanese to discredit the PNC
    under Forbes Burnham while they controlled both the Rice and Sugar Industries
    which they destroyed completely

    • De castro  On 09/06/2015 at 2:57 am

      For that matter…..employ corporate lawyer as consultant for a one off fee
      or approach Brazil s CEO for way forward Most CEO s chair various boards
      of companies …..not so much what you know….more who you know in business as in politricks.
      My grandaughter wishes to attend Harvard to complete her law degree.
      She wishes to do corporate law sure can persuade her on qualifying/practicing to offer her services “free” to guyana the land of her grandfathers/mothers and mothers birthplace.
      My fathers/mothers generation and mine are the “lost generations of Guyanese born who now inhabit mostly English speaking world. There are lots of talented
      folks in the diaspora who will wish to help new kids on block in moving guyana and Guyanese forward. May add there is also many talented Guyanese who must be encouraged in returning to guyana to help in its struggles.
      The world is no longer “local” it is “global”…think national and act international
      or visa versa.
      Put all you’re eggs in one basket is not a price worth paying.
      Diversify to survive guyana no exception.
      Survival of the most adaptable of the species.

      Stop looking back ..
      look forward please.

  • De castro  On 09/04/2015 at 5:37 am

    Am sure a lot more “kaka” will soon “hit the fan”….
    Corruption corruption and more corruption.!

    Find them prosecute them then jail them….sentance hard labour or cleaning up city….humiliation sometime more effective than “executions”.


  • Deen  On 09/04/2015 at 10:27 am

    Yes, the economy of Guyana was canabalized by incompetence, bribery corruption and crime …….for decades.
    Sad! Sad!! Sad!,,

  • Deen  On 09/04/2015 at 10:31 am

    Oops! Spelling “cannibalized.”

  • Joseph Archibald  On 09/04/2015 at 2:03 pm

    Lock them up and throw away the key.

    • De castro  On 09/04/2015 at 3:13 pm

      London dungeons have lots of vacant cells ..chuckle chuckle !😈

  • bernard  On 09/04/2015 at 5:34 pm

    12.530 per month us dollars, wow, only in guyana.

  • Tobuy West  On 09/04/2015 at 7:06 pm

    This SOB should be in prison.

    • De castro  On 09/04/2015 at 8:29 pm

      At taxpayers expense….you joking man….
      Let the SOB do his time “cleaning streets” or put in a “stock” for all to pelt with rotten eggs or fruit/veg. Humiliation sometimes more effective than executions.
      Not sure if Guyana still executes its citizens ….USA does…..but not for thieving.
      Not to mention plea bargaining for lesser sentence.
      Glad not USA resident….land of guns and glory.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 09/05/2015 at 8:21 am

    As a born Indo-Guyanese and as a past employee of the Sugar Industry (BSE Ltd. & GUYSUCO), I must object, totally and entirely, to this unsupported statement!
    “….what is more annoying is for the Indo-Guyanese to discredit the PNC
    under Forbes Burnham while they controlled both the Rice and Sugar Industries
    which they destroyed completely”
    From the time I joined BSE Ltd. Sir Jock Campbell’s “four-prong corporate strategy that involved a responsibility to the following: (i) the shareholders; (ii) the sugar workers; (iii) the customers or consumers of sugar; and (iv) the wider community.” was in place and credibly so – because the Guianization process was progressing.
    When BSE Ltd. was nationalized, I was required to sign a contract of employment which contained the condition “to devote all of your time to the interests of the Corporation”. My comment to the Admin. Manager was, “I feel like an indentured labourer all over again.” The document was signed by Mr. Harold Davis who was good, even great, as Chairman. But as I swallowed the gall in my mouth and signed that contract, I did not feel a great admiration for anyone in the Administration of GUYSUCO.
    It was the “PNC (Government) under Forbes Burnham” that imposed the Sugar Levy.
    It was the “PNC under Forbes Burnham”, through its little tin-gods in the various “regions” that would demand that an estate provide transportation of school children to this or that political rally; or to clap and cheer this or that political personage as (s)he dedicated a building; or commemorated an National event.
    And all from the estate’s operating budget!
    At the start of a grinding season, I was delegated to approach one of these tin-gods to purchase a burnt earth heap. (The weather was bad and we had used up our own ‘heaps’). We held little hope that we would succeed; and that turned out to be the case. But before that, I stated my business to the uniformed guard just inside the locked gate. The tin-god leaned out of a ‘gallery window’ and from the uniformed guard, learned my ‘name and rank’.
    “Ask him what he wants.” The guard asked me and I told him.
    “Tell him that I can’t. That heap is for the (housing) scheme roads.”
    I might well have been one of the gate posts as far as this particular tin-god was concerned.
    And I have not even touched on the MPCA / GAWU protracted battle for recognition. At 4.00 am Supervisors would be juggling lorry transport, riding the route to ensure that there were no snags. Any dispute arising therefrom would necessitate two separate rounds of negotiations – one with the accredited Union and the other with the “People’s Reps.” Each Representative would be paid an “average day’s pay” and would not need to work anymore for that day.
    So please, anyone, do not attempt blame a particular group or individual for the imminent demise of the Guyana Sugar Industry.
    Instead, substitute some lyrics into the Tradewinds philosophical calypso – “Who to blame?”
    Here is a lead:
    “Who to blame? Who to blame?
    For the empty sugar bottle?
    Who to blame? Who to blame?
    For the broken pieces on the floor?”

    • Thinker  On 09/05/2015 at 7:23 pm

      Good response but my feeling is that we just have to respond based on our knowledge of the truth. Burnham was no angel and one doesn’t have to be Indo to point that out. When responding to nonsense we can just state the facts.

      • De castro  On 09/05/2015 at 8:44 pm

        It may be a bit “premature” to be making assumptions or speculating based on the past….would much prefer to read on what is happening presently.
        It is a setback for new kids on the block not to have the cooperation/participation of the opposition but the show must go on.
        The implementation of promises made to the electorate should be their
        priority. New laws introduced asap to deal with the corruption endemic
        in the society…..where it is considered “smart to cheat/lie”
        Its an uphill struggle and the integrity of its leaders will be questioned.
        Openers and transparency a prequesite in today’s politics.
        Guyana no exception.
        Five years is a long time in politics…..but new kids on the block will be judged
        by how fast and furious their administration has implemented the changes necessary for a more stable and prosperous guyana.
        Only time will tell

  • Ron. Persaud  On 09/05/2015 at 9:47 am

    Some more!
    “Not I”, said the politician; “it’s up to the CEO!”
    “Not I”, said the Chairman; “I delegate, don’t you know?”

    • De castro  On 09/06/2015 at 3:11 am

      A bit “cynical” but an “attitude” issue.
      Let bygones be bygones
      To Caesar what is Caesar to gods wat is gods.
      History teaches fools ….only fools forget.
      Most forgive….
      Que sera

  • albert  On 09/05/2015 at 3:34 pm

    When politicians get involved in the decision making of private business the game is over. Is the Barbados sugar industry still privately owned? How is it doing?

  • De castro  On 09/05/2015 at 4:36 pm

    Two biggest sugar producers ….India and Brazil.
    Look at their industry for inspiration.
    Learn from their mistakes.

    Do what is necessary to make yours better…not bigger !

    Think national and act international.

  • De castro  On 09/06/2015 at 3:18 am

    May add….politricks is big business misguided.
    Two must work together for progress ” common good” !

    One public servant
    Other private development.

    Company law and common law upheld.

    No individual or company is “above” the law…nor is any politician or Royalty.

    God if he exists maybe.

  • Ron. Persaud  On 09/06/2015 at 4:45 am

    CYNICAL?? If you mean “distrusting or disparaging the motives of others”, you are correct. My life experiences have taught me that there are ‘ulterior’ motives; and there are ‘interior’ motives. It has always been in my interest to discern one from the other.
    My comments on the Sugar Industry in Guyana are based on actual and factual experiences from 1961 to 1982; from Laboratory Assistant to Field Manager; from Uitvlugt to Albion.
    Now, can I ask what authority do you have for commenting upon issues of attitude.

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