DORTS defends bid for Taipei Twin Towers project

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Dec 15, 2012 - Page 3

Taipei’s Department of Rapid Transit Systems (DORTS) yesterday defended the bidding process for the Taipei Twin Towers project (台北雙子星) near Taipei Railway Station, amid questions about the qualifications of both the evaluation committee and the developer.

It said that the department would take action if the developer was found to be involved in any illegal acts.

The developer, a multinational consortium composed of Taipei Gateway International Development (太極雙星), Malaysia’s IGB and Mid Valley City in October won the contract to develop two high-rise buildings that would cost between NT$70 billion and NT$80 billion (US$2.39 billion to US$2.73 billion).

Shortly after the Taipei City Government announced the project developer, BES Engineering, which lost the bid to the consortium, questioned the qualifications of the former director of the Bureau of High Speed Rail, Wu Fu-hsiang (吳福祥), as a member of the review committee on the selection of the developer.

Wu is an advisor to Kagawa International Investment.

The corporation and Taipei Gateway International Development both draw the bulk of their funding from Japan’s Mori Group, which made it a conflict of interest for Wu to serve as a member of the review committee, BES Engineering said, accusing the city government of violating the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法).

BES Engineering also questioned the consortium’s financial strength, given the large amount of funding required for the project.

DORTS Commissioner Richard Chen (陳椿亮) said the department has reviewed all of the 17 committee members and found no relationship between Wu and the companies involved in the bid, while insisting on the impartiality of the process of finalizing the developer.

He said that the bid for the project was not solely based on the bidding price, as applicants’ financial situations and construction design skills were also taken into consideration.

“The project’s developer was determined via a legal process. If any evidence is found to prove illegal acts in the bidding process, the department will handle it in accordance with the law,” he said.

The consortium is expected to break ground for the construction of the two high-rise buildings within one year.

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and the twin towers will serve as the main hub for the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line to Taipei and five other railway and MRT lines.