~ Asks if civil servants sought personal legal advice ~
Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel is calling on government to explain which procedures were not in place prior to this year as it pertains to the bidding process to award new garbage collections contracts.
The MP also wants government to say, yes or no, if senior staff involved with the bidding for new contracts has individually sought legal advice and why. Additionally, MP Emmanuel wants government to confirm if it has received a letter from one of the bidding parties requesting an in depth look into the bidding process or risk legal action.
The MP was responding to comments made by Minister of VROMI Egbert Doran on February 25, 2020. In responding to questions from the media about concerns MP Emmanuel raised about the bidding process, Minister Doran said “All procedures related to the ensuring of a proper bidding process were put in place this time around. This was done in order for the bidding process to take place in a transparent manner.”
“This implies that something was amiss with the last batch of contracts. Bare in mind that each tendering process over the years had to pass through the Council of Ministers and subsequently the Governor. The Minister, just like the rest of the Council of Ministers, spoke in vague terms and offered no clear information about what went wrong. These are documents the Governor signed. Is the Governor aware that certain procedures were not in place?
“He said there were “hiccups” that caused uproar among the bidding parties. What hiccups? What procedures were not in place? How were they corrected? Were the bidding parties informed or involved and when? The Minister does not have to wait until he is called to Parliament to provide clarity. When making statements about important issues such as this with legal implication, be clear with the people,” MP Emmanuel said.
The MP explained that if the Minister changed the tendering process, the changes would have to be reflected in the tendering documents when published since the rules cannot be changed during the process. “So if the changes were known when the tender was published, why would stakeholders be upset about the changes as they would know in advance and also have sufficient time to address the changes where applicable to them?” Also, nobody vetted the Terms of Reference prior to the start of the bidding?” the MP asked.
The MP also want the Minister to inform the public if one or more of the senior civil servants involved in the bidding process has sought legal advice on their own and for their own protection and if yes, why? “Again, the Minister simply has to answer to set these issues to rest. To date there is reportedly a lot of chatter within VROMI about the bidding process and this is not being helped by the Minister being evasive,” the MP said.
He also questioned when the new contracts will be awarded as the existing contracts are set to expire the end of March. “The Minister said that no contracts have been awarded. When will this happen to allow contractors to mobilize and get ready to keep our districts clean and garbage free? The Minister also said the public will be informed so we look forward to hearing the list of contract winners and the
MP Emmanuel recently expressed concern about complaints he had received about the tendering process to award new waste disposal contracts. Emmanuel said that if some of the “very worrying” information he has received were true, legal challenges and consequences could follow, casting doubt and suspicion over the entire tendering process.