Bridge Feasibility study: Tendering was ‘annulled’ in favour of Dutch company- MPI

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On the heels of the revelations made by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) that the award of a $146M contract for the Feasibility Study and Design for the new Demerara River Crossing was not tendered, the Ministry of Public Security (MPI) in a responding statement said that process was “annulled” in favour of LievenseCSO which it said was recommended.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson

The subject Ministry explained that “with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Ministry advertised the Consultancy for Feasibility Study and Design for the new Demerara River Bridge.”

As such, 22 firms expressed their interest and 12 of these firms were subsequently shortlisted. However, only two submitted bids, said the MPI.

The Ministry says that of the two submissions, only one firm had a valid bid, but it had exceeded the US$800,000 budget.

In addition, concerns were also raised on a technical level said the Ministry.

As such, the statement explained that a decision was made to annul the process in May 2017, following permission from the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) and the Ministry of Finance.

Nonetheless, the MPI said it continued to seek suitable consultants due to the “significance of the project and the need for its realisation.”

An artist’s impression of what the new Demerara River bridge will look like

“The Ministry actively sought greatly qualified consultants worldwide,” the release said, noting that was during engagements with various companies- including those in the Netherlands- that the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR) Team- and in England- and the company, LievenseCSO, was recommended.

A bid was later received from LievenseCSO and MPI applied to NPTAB for permission –which was granted- to engage the company.

Upon evaluation of the bid, it was later determined that it [the bid] was the best out of all that had been submitted, both on the technical level and in relation to price.

According to the MPI, Cabinet was therefore invited to consider the proposal and subsequently gave its ‘No Objection’ to the award of the contract and the progression of the project.

In essence, Government sole-sourced the contract for the Feasibility Study to the outlined Dutch company after it cancelled the tendered contracts that it deemed non-complaint based on the factors highlighted above.

The incumbent Administration while in the Opposition benches was very critical of contracts being sole-sourced, citing transparency and equity concerns, and had promised on multiple occasions, since taking up office, that it will be moving away from this approach.

Meanwhile, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira has lodged a formal complaint with the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), calling for an investigation into the selection and award of a $146 million contract to Dutch firm, LievenseCSO, for the feasibility study of the new Demerara River Crossing/Bridge. The MPI has since said that it welcomed the investigation.

In a letter to the Chairperson of the PPC, Carol Corbin, Teixeira outlined that the company did not tender for the project but yet, it was awarded the multi-million dollar contract.

Teixeira in her letter said that “on December 8, the National Procurement Tender Administration opened the bids from seven European and four Chinese companies which signaled their interests. Several other overseas companies have applied for the contract, some in partnership with local firms”.

Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira

According to the Opposition Chief Whip, the media reported back in November that State Minister Joseph Harmon had announced that LievenseCSO, was selected by the NPTAB to do the Feasibility Study for the new Demerara River Crossing.

However, the Opposition Chief Whip pointed out that there are no records with regards to this bid opening on either the NPTAB or the Ministry of Finance websites. She added that there is also no record on the NPTAB website with regard to the Award of Tender to LievenseCSO in November 2016 or any other date as announced by Minister Harmon on November 24, 2016.

“There is no evidence that the original tender was terminated and a new one introduced nor any evidence that the tender had been amended and new Expressions of Interest sought.  The fact that as of April 26, 2016 one company seemed to be in the running and then 7 months later another company that never tendered is awarded the contract is highly suspect. Therefore there has been no transparency with regard to this bid, the selection and award of the Consultancy for the Feasibility Study and Designs for the new Demerara River Crossing to LievenseCSO,” she stated.

 

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