Sports News of Thursday, 25 August 2005

Source: --

Bid Process Cancelled

... 'Non-bidding' company wins contract
... Did $20m change hands?

Government has decided to award the contracts for the rehabilitation of venues for the 2008 African Cup of Nations to a company, which did not bid for the projects.

The government put aside the 7-month-long bidding process, which was meant to conform to the new Procurement Act passed recently by Parliament, and decided to award the contract to a Chinese construction firm.

This has generated a lot of controversy in the local media, with some newspapers and critics alleging an amount of $20 million was given to some top officials to cancel the winning bids.

Two companies had initially been selected to undertake the projects.

But officials of the local organizing committee, which is supervising preparations for the competitions, say government has changed its mind because the winning bidders have presented estimates, which are too high.

According to JoyOnline, Epiferm Ghana Limited, working with the construction firm EMSAS Construction, was selected to rehabilitate the Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast stadiums at a total cost of $216 million.

The Gyandu Park in Takoradi and the Kaladan Park in Tamale were also to have been converted into stadia by a second company, Vamed Engineering, at an estimated cost $128 million.

Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Dr Kofi Amoah says the offer from China Shanghai falls far short of what he described as the exorbitant bids from the original winners of the bid.

?This process took us about seven months at the end of the period, companies that made the shortlist, it became quite obvious that the sums and prices that they were talking about is not something that is within the interest of government in terms of the magnitude so obviously the results of the procurement process was given to government to take a look at. But at the same time when we knew that the initial figures were took high, we had to start looking else where,? he said.

Sources within the LOC have indicated that the Chinese firm has offered to spend just $25 million to construct a stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000.

This is less than half what the two winners of the bid had offered.

Dr Amoah maintains that the LOC believes that the Chinese bid is the most economical.

?It was common knowledge that the Chinese do have expertise in building stadia. It is common knowledge that the Chinese usually have good price quality ratio. So it was decided that there is a stadium in Shanghai that we should visit and check out the company that built it and check out their references.

Before we went they were invited to Ghana to have discussions with us and the price they were talking about seemed very interesting. As a matter of fact this information was given to the President at a cabinet meeting before a final decision was taken. The country could not afford the other prices that the other companies were quoting,? he said.

Officials believe sour grapes account for the bad press and allegations of bribery being made against the LOC and some sports ministry officials.

When details of the deal are firmed up, construction works should start in October.

Meanwhile,the LOC has postponed to tomorrow a dinner for the visiting inspection team of the Confederation of African Football(CAF)and members of the Ghana Football Association,GHALCA and LOC Sub-Committees.

The dinner,originally fixed for tonight, now comes off at the Alisa Hotel (North Ridge) at 7:00 pm tomorrow (Friday). All invited guests must take note of the new date.