PPP protest bidding process for New Demerara River Bridge

The People’s Progressive Party has written to the Chairperson of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) in protest to the award of contract for the awarding of the contract for the consultancy for the feasibility study and designs of the New Demerara River Bridge to  LievenseCSO. 

The Party is contesting the manner in which the selecting process was done and that LievenseCSO, was not part of the tenderers.

Below is the full letter to the PPC by Opposition Cheif Whip, Gail Texeira.

 

 

Chairperson,

Mrs. C. Corbin,

Public Procurement Commission

New Garden Street,

Queenstown,

Georgetown

Guyana.

September 18, 2017

 

Dear Madam Chairperson,

Ref:-Violation of the Procurement Act and Regulations with regard to the selection and  award of contract for the Consultancy for the Feasibility Study and Designs for the New Demerara River Crossing/Bridge.

I wish to bring to the members of the Public Procurement Commission’s attention a most grievous matter with regard to the selection and awarding of the contract for the consultancy for the feasibility study and designs of the New Demerara River Bridge or what is also referred to as the New Demerara River Crossing.

According to news reports dated January 4, 2016 both in the Guyanese and foreign media, twenty-two (22) companies in response to a public advertisement submitted Expressions of Interest for a Consultancy for the Feasibility Study and Designs of a new Demerara River Crossing.

The media reported on the said date that the Public Infrastructure Ministry Chief Works Officer, Geoffrey Vaughn, disclosed that the Ministry had already evaluated the tenders and handed over the list to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for processing.

It was also reported 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”.

The same media reports listed twenty-two ( 22) companies as follows:-

  1. i) Politechnica Ingeneria Architecture (Italy) in association with Marcelle Gaskin and Associates of Guyana;
  2. ii) Hewson Consulting Engineers of the United Kingdom;

iii) COWI of Denmark;

  1. iv) IPRO Consulting from Germany;,
  2. v) Egis of France;
  3. vi) Mott Mc Donald of the United Kingdom in association with SRK Engineering and Consulting;

vii) Netherland-based Ballast Nedam;

viii) China Harbour Engineering (CHEC);

vix) China Railway First Group;

  1. x) Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Communications, Planning, Design and Research;

xi)China Shandong International Economic and Technology Competition Group Limited;

xii) Rites Limited India;

xiii)VIKAB Enterprises of Trinidad and Tobago;

xiv) CFE in association with NV Rustwijk and Rustwijk of Suriname;

  1. xv) WSP Caribbean Limited from Trinidad;

xvi)MMM Group of Canada in association with CEMCO of Guyana;

xvii) SENER of South Africa;

xviii) Stantec (Japan) in association with Pedelta;

xix) Proficenter from Brazil;

  1. xx) Stuart Consulting Group along with Rahmad and Associates from the United States;

xxi) CBCL Ltd from Nova Scotia, Canada;

xxii) Guyana-based Stunning Nisi Inc.

Eleven months later, the media reported on November 24th and 26th, 2016, that Minister Joseph Harmon, Minister within the Ministry of the Presidency, announced that LievenseCSO, a Dutch company, had been selected by the National Tender and Procurement Administration Board to do the Feasibility Study for the new Demerara River Crossing.

However, you will note that this company, LievenseCSO, was not listed as one of the twenty-two (22 ) companies which submitted Expressions of Interest in December 2015 as reported by the media.

The PPC would no doubt be aware that part of Guyana’s international obligations under the Inter-American Convention against Corruption is to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in order to enhance public trust and confidence, particularly in respect to the public procurement process. Therefore access to information, and, the availability and accessibility of information with regards to government procurement is critical to this objective. As a result, PART 11 Section 4 (1) (3)-(6) of the Regulations 2004 (as amended in 2010), provides for the posting on the National Procurement Tender Administration (NPTA) website ( www.npta.gov.gy) information and minutes of the opening of the bids, the awards of tenders, protests etc..

However, there is no record on the NPTA website of the opening of bids/Expressions of Interest for the Consultancy for the Feasibility Study and Designs of the new Demerara River Crossing on December 8th 2015 or any other date. Nor in fact, are there any minutes that reflect the submission of these 22 companies.

Furthermore, there is no Award of Tender for the Consultancy for the Feasibility Study and Designs of a new Demerara River Crossing under Awards of Tenders on the NPTA website between October 2016 and January 2017.

The Ministry of Finance website (www.finance.gov.gy/tender-awards-minutes) also posts the some of the same NPTA’s minutes of the Opening of Bids but there are no posting of the Awards of Tenders. However, as the Ministry of Finance posting of the minutes of the Opening of the Bids is more user-friendly than the NPTA, l shall refer to these records. One finds herein, the following:-

  1. a) there are no minutes for the Opening of any Bids for this consultancy on December 8, 2015;
  2. b) in fact, there are no minutes of the NPTA opening any bids between October 2015 and January 2016;
  3. c) On March 8, 2016 opening of bids minutes, page 11, under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, the Feasibility Study and Design for the new Demerara River Crossing at Linden, (Region 10 ) is listed 24 companies ( 22 are those listed in the media for the Feasibility Study and Designs for the new Demerara River Crossing on January 4, 2016);
  4. c) On March 15, 2016 opening of bids minutes, page 1, under the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Consultancy for Feasibility Study and Designs for the new Demerara River Crossing there are only 2 companies listed – China Rail First group Co. Ltd and MMM Group Canada in association with CEMCO;
  5. d) On April 26, 2016 opening of bids minutes, page 9, Ministry of Public Infrastructure Consultancy for the Feasibility Study and Designs of the new Demerara River Crossing, one company is listed – MMM Group ( Canada) in association with CEMCO with a bid of $848,950.

There is no other record with regard to this bid opening on either the NPTA or the Ministry of Finance websites.

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.

It is of interest that one of the media houses reported on March 7, 2017 that the feasibility study’s first phase had begun by LievenseCSO and that the value of the contract was USD $ 709,091 USD or GY $ 146.3 M. Other than this one reference there is no available information on the cost of the contract nor its terms of reference on any government website or any pronouncement by any government official.

Of further interest is that the Department of Public Information reported on March 4th, 2017 that the Minister of Public Infrastructure made a presentation to the Cabinet on the new Demerara River Crossing. However, on March 15th, 2017, the media reported that LievenseCSO had completed the first stage of the feasibility study which it had commenced on January 15, 2017 and this was presented to the Minister.

The denial of access to information with regard to the opening of the bids on December 8, 2015, or any other date, the Award of the Tender to a company that did not tender in December 2015, or any other date, and, the unavailability of the Award of Tender in November 2016 or any other date, for the value of GY$146.3M to the said company which requires the NPTA Board’s approval is alarming and a travesty. This lack of transparency on this award, its contents and costs, is in violation of the Procurement Act, in particular the S 11 (1) and (2), and its Regulations.

The recent announcement by the government of the findings of the Feasibility Study in August 2017 has brought attention to these violations.

The fact that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has now gone out to tender for the Prequalification of Contractors for the Finance, Design, Build and Maintain the new Demerara River Bridge on August 21, 2017 and has given companies a deadline of September 4, 2017 to submit their letters of interest and other required documents (again these submissions are not available on the NPTA or MOPI websites) and October 17, 2017 for the submissions further compounds and continues these violations.

I, therefore, call on the Public Procurement Commission under Article 212 AA (1) (a), (c), (d), (g), (i), and (j) of the Guyana Constitution to immediately investigate the process and procedures used for the bidding, selection and the Award of Tender to a company, LievenseCSO, that did not tender for the Consultancy of the Feasibility Study and designs of a new Demerara River Crossing.

And further that the PPC should also immediately examine the new tender posted for the Prequalification of Contractors for the Finance, Design, Build and Maintain the new Demerara River Bridge and the monitor the entire process of bidding, evaluation and selection of the contractor(s) to ensure that the Procurement Act and Regulations are strictly adhered to.

This project is of significant importance to our nation, and, one that will clearly come at a great cost to the Guyanese taxpayer now and in the future, therefore the public expects unflinching diligence by the PPC in order to protect the Guyanese people’s interests and uphold the constitutional provisions.

Sincerely yours,

 

Gail Teixeira, M.P.,

 

 


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