Govt to proceed with controversial tender
Nov 25, 2016

The Government has awarded a controversial tender to re-lay the 400m and 200m training tracks at the Sugathadasa Sports Complex to a joint venture between Access International (Pvt) Ltd and Conica-veritas despite their price being significantly higher than at least two other bids.

The Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (CAPC) awarded the project at a cost of Rs. 334,291, 610.00 plus VAT.

Access International’s bid is Rs. 56 million higher than the price quoted by CML-MTD (Rs. 278 million) and Rs. 34 million more than Sierra Construction who quoted Rs. 297 million.

“The CAPC decided to award this tender to the substantially evaluated responsive bidder, the Access International (Pvt) Ltd joint venture with Conica-veritas,” a letter addressed to the unsuccessful bidders stated. The letter signed by Somaratne Vidanapathirana, Additional Secretary (Admin and Procurement) Ministry of Sports, also explains the reason for disqualification.

The exclusively reported yesterday that the tender specifications were tailored to favour one pre-selected bidder, Conica, who made their offer through its local agent Access International (Pvt) Ltd.

The bid document required the fulfillment of strict conditions to qualify, including prior experience in laying at least one Class I track and five Class II tracks in South Asia. Critics argue that these have been introduced based on the experience of the ‘favoured’ bidder.

“Synthetic Track Manufacture/ Installer with experience in installing minimum of Ten (10) IAAF Class 1 tracks including at least one (1) in South Asia and minimum of Ten (10) IAAF Class II Synthetic athletics tracks including at least five (5) in South Asia,” Section II Clause 3.5 (a) states.

According to the above criteria, only Conica-veritas - a company which laid the Synthetic Track at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 12 other Class II tracks in India - meets the pre-requisite.

The tender has been awarded despite substantial pressure from other bidders to review the process which they argue was fixed from the start.

However, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera speaking to said the tender was not fixed. “We have no intention of fixing. These clauses were included in order to get the best possible bid,” he insisted, adding that the unsuccessful bidders could appeal the decision.

“If they had issues with the tender specifications, they should have notified us earlier,” he said. “Why did they waited till the process is over? Anyway, as per government procurement guidelines, they can appeal now and make their case.”

The minister also said proper monitoring will be done to ensure the quality of the project once the winner is announced after the appeals.

Appeals can be made till December 2, 2016. learns that rejected bidders avail themselves of the opportunity.

“We will make our case here,” one of them said. “We have no issue who gets it as long as they follow the correct procedure and select the best available bid. But in this instance, it was very clear from the start that they have rigged it.”

Six companies—access Engineering (Pvt) Ltd, Sierra Construction Ltd, CML-MTD Construction Ltd, RR Construction, Fentons Ltd and Konelu Construction - submitted technical and price proposals (design and build) but Fentons, RR and Konelu had not met the major deviations and were disqualified.

Access is the local agent for Conica, while Sierra represents Polytan and CML-MTD represents Beynon. Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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