Bulgaria Cites Suspected Foul Play, Lack of Money in Calling off Motorway Tender

Business | February 15, 2016, Monday // 19:18
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Cites Suspected Foul Play, Lack of Money in Calling off Motorway Tender File photo BGNES

Bulgaria has terminated the process for the selection of a contractor for the construction of part of Hemus motorway due to lack of EU funding, the Regional Development Ministry said on Monday afternoon.

It is impossible to secure funding for the construction of Lot 1 and Lot 2 of Hemus motorway under Operational Programme Transport and Transport Infrastructure 2014-2020, the Regional Development Ministry said in a statement.  

Bulgaria is set to spend a total of EUR 673 M under that operational programme for the construction of sections of Struma motorway linking Sofia with the border with Greece as well as the building of the western section of Sofia outer ring road, according to the statement.

Preliminary estimates have shown that the implementation of those projects will absorb the entire EU funding available under the operational programme, the Regional Development Ministry added.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov had ordered the cancellation of the selection process, the government press office announced on Monday morning without citing a reason for the decision.

The tender for the construction of two sections of the motorway with combined length of 60 km in central northern Bulgaria at a cost of BGN 800 M (EUR 400 M) had been won by firms which Bulgarian media reports had linked to controversial MP and media tycoon Delyan Peevski and the head of Lukoil Bulgaria, Valentin Zlatev.

One Italian and one Turkish company, who had offered lower prices, had appealed the results of the tender before the country’s anti-trust watchdog, the Commission for Protection of Competition.

Several hours after the Regional Development Ministry released its statement, Borisov told reporters in Prague, the Czech Republic, that he had ordered that a new tender were held, in order to dispel doubts of foul play among the public.

"Officially or unofficially, there have been doubts that the procedure wasn’t OK. Yet, it was conducted absolutely lawfully. But when doubts circulate in the public space about a deal that will cost 800 million levs of state money, I will never allow to remain the slightest tinge of doubt that I have done something wrong,” Borisov told reporters, according to dnevnik.bg.

“That’s why I closed the procedure and ordered that a new tender were held, before the eyes of all media,” Borisov added.

He also said that money will be available for the construction of the two lots of the motorway once a new tender was held. 

Asked whether the winning companies could sue the Bulgarian government for the cancellation of the tender, Borisov replied: "That's the reason why we have no money today - officially, but we'll have from tomorrow on", according to dnevnik.bg.




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Tags: Bulgaria, Hemus, motorway, Borisov, Peevski, Zlatev

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