Saturday, February 17, 2018

‘SIS contract reeks of bid-rigging’

 If the billion-dollar Beetham waste water treatment plant project is terminated, Super Industrial Services (SIS) can still walk away with millions without doing any work, says Opposition MP Colm Imbert.

He was speaking at the Parliament sitting yesterday, on a private motion raised by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, which calls on the Prime Minister to immediately stop this award and review the overall circumstances to ensure that the public interest is protected and state resources are not stolen or wasted in the arrangements between WASA and National Gas Company (NGC) with respect to this water supply project.

Imbert questioned the haste in which the project was awarded by NGC to SIS over the period of four days from February 17 to 20.

“They have put this country in a very compromised position because SIS has in its hand a letter of award for a billion-dollar project that should really be a $600 million project. At the very least, if that project is terminated now, Mr Speaker, they could claim loss of profit, they could walk away without doing any work with two or three hundred million dollars in their hand, Mr Speaker,” said Imbert

“...Because they have an award and contract law is clear on this issue, that if you follow a tender process and you award a contract to someone and you cancel it, you have to pay them loss of profit. The only way you don’t have to pay them is if you determine fraud, if you determine bribery, if you determine corruption, Mr Speaker, because fraud unravels everything,” he added.

Imbert said the entire process for the award of the contract reeks of bid-rigging and the board went ahead and gave its approval nevertheless.

He pointed out that 17 companies collected documents to submit bids but only two companies bid.

The NGC board, said Imbert, did not bother to ask why was it that 15 other reputable companies did not submit bids.

These companies, he said, “smelled a rat” and did not bother to spend millions in submitting a bid in a project that was pre-determined.

“The thing was obviously stinking to high heaven, Mr Speaker.”

Imbert said further that the NGC board did not question why was it the second bidder, who submitted a bid for $600 million, $400 million less than SIS, was not selected.

He said the fact that this company has written a letter stating that it had no problem with the evaluation process supports the argument that there was bid rigging involved.

“This particular low bidder is bidding for other projects, they are in line to get multi-million dollar contracts in this country, so they’ve been told to keep quiet, shut up and keep quiet, don’t mind we cheated you, don’t mind your price is $400 million lower than the other one,” said Imbert.