Controversy overloads bid opening as Samsung plans short-circuit
The controversial tender for the 300 MegaWatt ( MW) Combined Cycle Power Plant at Kerawalapitiya, is set to take another turn tomorrow (18), when the financial Bids submitted by five previously unsuccessful Bidders will be opened.
Eight Bids had earlier been submitted for the Plant. Consequent to the technical evaluation process, six had been recommended by the Ceylon Electricity Board's (CEB) Technical Evaluation Committee ( TEC) for financial evaluation. The Standard Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) however, had recommended only one of those six Bids. The Bid submitted by a consortium led by Korea’s Samsung, was opened last month in the presence of other unsuccessful Bidders, who protested the SCAPC’s decision to disregard the TEC’s recommendation.
Power and Renewable Energy Secretary Dr Suren Batagoda told the Sunday Times that Samsung’s Bid was rejected at the Bid opening, after it emerged that the consortium had failed to properly submit a signed financial Bid in hard copy. A soft copy submitted through a pen drive, also failed to open in a laptop due to a technical issue.
With the Bids submitted by the other five unsuccessful Bidders due to be opened tomorrow, Dr Batagoda said he expected the tender to be awarded within a month, and work on the plant to begin thereafter.
The decision to open the other five Bids follows Cabinet approval being granted to a decision by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM). In a Note to Cabinet, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated at its meeting held on August 16, the CCEM had decided that a new SCAPC appointed by Cabinet should act on the recommendations of the TEC, and open the financial Bids of the other five Bidders and report their decision to the Cabinet.
The CCEM observed the matter be given the highest priority to avert a future power crisis.
The matter, however, is far from over. The Sunday Times learns that Samsung is preparing to file legal action next week against the decision to open the other Bids. The consortium argues that it was legitimately chosen as the only qualified Bidder, and charges that interested parties had manipulated the tender process to suit their own ends.
A representative of the consortium, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, claimed the justification presented for rejecting its Bid was highly misleading. According to the representative, under the CEB’s Request For Proposals ( RFP) document for the power plant, clause 7.6.1 says the financial template should be provided in the “required” hard copy and soft copy. Accordingly, the entire financial proposal was provided in hard copy, while all data had been included in an excel sheet in electronic form made available by the CEB, the consortium claims. It further accuses CEB officials of rejecting a request made by its representatives to use a different laptop to the one provided by the CEB, to open the soft copy.