The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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WasteServ says waste-to-energy plant ranking procedure not criticised by Court

Saturday, 22 June 2024, 12:55 Last update: about 25 days ago

The Court of Appeal’s judgment on the waste-to-energy plant tender did not take issue with the procedure adopted by WasteServ to rank bidders — which was greenlighted by the best international players in the field — but concentrated solely on what it deemed as perceived conflicts of interest within the Public Contracts Review Board, which heard the losing bidder’s appeal, the agency said in a statement.

Last Thursday, the Appeals Court ruled that a tender for the construction of an incinerator in Magħtab will have to be adjudicated again because members of the adjudicating panel within the Contracts Department had a conflict of interest. The court ordered a new evaluation process take place.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling on Thursday represents another setback for a project, deemed crucial by Wasteserv to reduce the need for more landfilling space to dispose of non-recyclable waste.

A new adjudicating committee will have to be formed to consider the bids once again.

A spokesperson for WasteServ said Saturday “it is unfortunate to note that even though the appellant actually dropped its main ground of appeal against the merits of WasteServ’s adjudication process for the tender, sections of the media, have either misunderstood or are deliberately misconstruing the court decision so they can cast WasteServ in a bad light.”

“WasteServ condemns such destructive behaviour, which seems solely intended to further stall and destabilise its efforts to deliver a vital infrastructural project in the hope that a losing consortium — with an offer that would have cost taxpayers €200 million more — will get a second chance.

“As can be easily verified by anyone interested in the truth, the adjudication by WasteServ was conducted in full transparency and with the assistance of a world-leading consultancy in solid waste management (COWI A/S), while also relying on an extra layer of quality assurance through the use of an independent UK-based firm (Frith Resource Management) that confirmed the recommendation of award.”

In its concluding assessment, Frith Resource Management had in fact concurred with WasteServ’s decision and said “the procurement has been undertaken in a timely, efficient and equitable manner”, confirming the recommendation to award the multi-million project to Paprec Energies International – BBL Malta at a bid price of €600 million.

At no point did the Court of Appeal question the detailed technical or financial scoring of WasteServ’s adjudication process. The Court, however, annulled the Public Contracts Review Board decision on grounds of perceived conflict of interest.

The court ruled that two board members should have abstained from sitting on the Public Contracts Review Board because of the positions they held in other government entities.

The court also said that one of the evaluators should not have sat on WasteServ’s Tender Evaluation Committee (TEC) as she was a registered substitute member of the PCRB, even though she played absolutely no part in the PCRB appeal hearing.

It should be made clear that the said member — who, as the court recognised, is an expert in public procurement — had immediately advised the PCRB that she would not form part of any cases instituted against WasteServ. In fact, at no point was she a member of the Review Board during Hitachi’s appeal and had no influence whatsoever on the PCRB’s decision-making process, WasteServ said.

“WasteServ remains committed to continue driving Malta’s environmental transition, and no false claim or malicious accusation will deter it from delivering a better environmental future.”

 

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