Con­tro­versy over­loads bid open­ing as Sam­sung plans short-cir­cuit

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS - By San­dun Jayawar­dana

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.

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