The government said Wednesday it will not obey a ruling by the city’s top court according to which it would need to reassess the rival quotations submitted by seven bidders in a public tender for the construction of the depot of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.
The Court of Final Appeal (TUI) last month also ordered the government to “carry out tasks in line with the ruling.”
The statement by the government said that its decision was based on the Administrative Procedure Litigation Code, pointing out that the annulment of the depot construction tender would have a “big impact” on the construction schedule of the LRT project’s Taipa section, which would “gravely harm the public interest.”
The order to annul the outcome of the tender was given by the Court of Final Appeal after an appeal by one of the bidders, China Road and Bridge Corporation, which placed second in the tendering process, according to marks given by government officials who oversaw the tendering process for the LRT depot project.
China Road and Bridge Corporation claimed in its appeal, which it won, that the government had misinterpreted a number of items in its assessment criteria when evaluating the submitted quotations and depot project proposals that, according to the appeal, may have caused the government to come up with the wrong marks.
Back in March, the Court of Second Instance (TSI) had ruled that the government’s contract with China Construction and Engineering (Macau) Company Limited for the LRT depot project should be annulled and that the government would need to recalculate the marks for the quotations submitted by the seven bidders.
The Court of Final Appeal said in last month’s ruling that it had rejected an appeal by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On against the TSI ruling.
In the statement, the Transport Infrastructure Office (GIT) said that even though the government “has the highest respect for the courts”, it will not annul the LRT depot tender, citing the Administrative Procedure Litigation Code’s concept of “legitimate cause for non-execution”.
The government justifies its decision of not obeying the top court’s ruling by pointing out that 90 percent of the depot’s construction work has been completed by the winner of the tender, China Construction and Engineering (Macau) Company Limited, adding that the depot project was slated to be finished by the end of the year.
Radio Macau Wednesday quoted local lawyer Nuno Sardinha da Mata as saying that China Road and Bridge Corporation could now demand compensation for financial losses caused by the non-execution of the Court of Final Appeal’s ruling in its favour.
The LRT depot is located at the far east of Cotai near Wynn Palace. Government officials have said that the LRT system’s Taipa section, which includes Cotai, is slated to be operational by the end of next year, around the time when Macao is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its return to the motherland and the inauguration of its third chief executive.