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MauBank & Patel Engineering Debates Rock the Parliament



MauBank & Patel Engineering Debates Rock the Parliament
Image source: l'Express

Mauritius’ Finance Minister, Renganaden Padayachy, has proposed an additional budget of Rs 6.7 billion for the 2023-2024 financial year. The largest chunk of this amount, Rs 1.893 billion, has already been paid to Patel Engineering, an Indian company, as compensation for the termination of a lease agreement by the government in 2015.

However, the opposition deputy Reza Uteem criticized the minister for not providing any explanation for the disbursement of this significant amount and demanded that Padayachy provide the legal notice received in 2015, which recommended or opposed the termination of the contract.

Uteem pointed out that before Patel Engineering, there were similar instances of losses with Betamax for Rs 6 billion and BAI for Rs 25 billion.

“This policy of revenge by the MSM is costing the taxpayer dearly,” he said. The Rs 1.893 billion paid to Patel does not represent the expenses incurred by the company, but rather “losses of earnings,” according to Uteem.

The opposition deputy also questioned the injection of Rs 500 million into MauBank Holdings Ltd, which had reported profits of Rs 709 million.

“Why was this injection needed? Was there a plan to sell MauBank? What happened?” he asked.

Padayachy later responded to Aadil Ameer Meea during the summing-up that the money would be used to subsidize buyers of houses in the New Social Living Development Ltd, which had seen a significant increase in property prices.

Maneesh Gobin, a member of Parliament, responded to Uteem’s comments on the Patel Engineering affair, stating that it was Navin Ramgoolam himself who had invited Patel to invest in the Neotown project and that the land at Les Salines was rented to the Ministry of Land at the time, which then sublet it to Patel.

He also recalled the questions raised by the MMM on this deal, which they considered to be a gift to the Indian.

Gobin concluded that “a mega project has become a mega scandal” and questioned how one could continue with the lease agreement in such circumstances.

When Farhad Aumeer asked why the state was condemned by the arbitral court if it was right, Speaker Padayachy interjected with “No politics!”

Kailesh Jagutpal attempted to justify an additional budget of Rs 1.2 billion for healthcare by citing an outbreak of dengue fever.

He also disputed Uteem’s statement that there were shortages of certain medicines and surpluses of others. However, his argument did not seem convincing.

Source: l’Express

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