Tuesday, February 20, 2018

...MP also wants probe into water plant contract

 OPPOSITION Member of Parliament Colm Imbert yesterday called on the Integrity Commission to investigate the award of a billion-dollar contract by the State to the Super Industrial Services (SIS) for the construction of the Beetham Water Recycling Plant stating the government had “absolutely no justification” in disqualifying the lowest bidder.

Imbert yesterday provided a final report from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) dated October, 12, 2012 which said the estimated cost of the project was valued at US$101,450,000 million.

The report entitled “Beetham Water Reuse Project Technical Study and Concept Design: Final Report” was done by CPG Consultants Pte Ltd of Signapore in collaboration with PUB Consultants Pte Ltd.

SIS’s successful bid of US$167,755,329 was US$72,530,686 more than competitor Atlatec’s bid of US$95,224,643 and more than the NGC’s own estimate of US$149,999,000.

Imbert made the statements during a newsconference at the Office of the Opposition Leader, Charles Street, in Port of Spain yesterday.

In defending the selection of SIS for the contract Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said Atlatec’s bid was disqualified because it was “ridiculously low”, Imbert said.

Sport Minister Anil Roberts claimed the US$100 million figure in the WASA report was exclusive of “piping costs”, Imbert said.

Imbert yesterday took the two ministers to task for their claims.

“One minister was holding back part of the truth and the other was not speaking the truth. Those are the facts, it debunks the argument of the government that they disqualified the lowest bidder because his price was so ridiculously low,” Imbert said.

“There is absolutely no justification on the government to disqualify the lowest bidder on the grounds that the price was too low,” he said.

Imbert said the previous People’s National Movement administration intended to have the Beetham Water Recycling Plant used as a cooling system for a new electricity power station.

He questioned why the government was embarking on the project from Beetham to Point Lisas when desalination costs are less.

Imbert said it was “despicable” of the government to pretend they did not know of the PNM’s plan.

“I think a number of agencies have to get involved in this, I think the audit division of the Ministry of Finance has to get involved, I think the Integrity Commission has to get involved because if you have an estimate of US$100 million and you have a man at US$95 and you disqualify him by saying he’s too low somebody playing games,” Imbert said.

Imbert said the project is not needed and on the face of it it seems citizens have been lied to by the government. See Page 16