Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taipei’s Twin Towers project to be continued

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government is to continue the Taipei Twin Towers construction project amid ongoing investigations over alleged bribery scandals involving contractors and city officials.

The project has been stalled since its first-priority bidder, a consortium led by Taipei Gateway International Development, failed to provide the performance bond in February.

Taipei City’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) announced on Wednesday that it has completed the review of conditions of second-placed bidder BES Engineering, and will start negotiating a new contract with the company after Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) approves the review.

DORTS Commissioner Tsai Hui-sheng (蔡輝昇) confirmed yesterday that Hau has instructed the department this week to proceed with the bidding procedures as the city government decided not to nullify the project over the indictment of former Taipei City Department of Finance commissioner Chiu Da-chan (邱大展).

“Launching the negotiation with BES Engineering does not guarantee that the city will sign the contract with the company. We will consult with other departments during the negotiation process,” he said.

On the agenda of issues to be addressed in the negotiation process will be the ratio of floor area that the final contractor is allowed to handle.

The company is asking for the rights to sell parts of floor area of the buildings to increase profit, while the DORTS is seeking to set up a maximum floor area ratio that the company can sell.

Pending the negotiations, the city government intends to finalize the list of conditions for a contract and inform the company about the final conditions via formal documents.

The company would then be required to sign the contract within 30 days after receiving the documents, according to the DORTS.

Tsai said if the company refuses to sign the contract, the city will return the NT$130 million (US$4.4 million) bid bond to the company, and Hau will determine whether the city will negotiate a contract with the third-place bidder or nullify the bid.

The city’s decision to proceed with the bidding process came following Chiu’s indictment earlier this month.

He was indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for breach of trust and other charges over alleged misconduct during the bidding process for the project.

Hau has repeatedly vouched for Chiu’s innocence after the bribery allegations surfaced in February.

He has said the city may consider nullifying the bid if the bidding process was found to be illegal.

Taipei City Government Spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) said the city government has determined that there were no problems during the evaluation of project bidders and the bidding process, and decided to continue negotiating a new contract with the company.

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