Rivals shut out of East Rail contract

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 12:00am

The KCRC is under fire for awarding a contract for the East Rail extension without open tendering.

The contract came to light after the Democratic Party received an anonymous complaint that NKI Group B. V. had been awarded a $100 million signage contract without it being put to competitive tender. It covers the proposed Tsim Sha Tsui station and those along the Ma On Shan line.

Last night Democrat Albert Chan Wai-yip questioned if the award had breached principles of equal treatment stipulated under World Trade Organisation rules.

'The practice does not comply with the principle of fairness in tendering,' Mr Chan said. He urged the much-criticised rail operator to promise that single tendering would not be used again.

A spokeswoman for the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation confirmed the contract had been awarded by single tendering. 'There was no open tender because the contractor has also won another signage contract for the West Rail through a competitive tendering process. We could save money if we hire it again.

'It has not breached the internal guidelines as the board has approved it. The World Trade Organisation has also provided for single tender.'

However, she failed to address whether the company could also save money by awarding contracts through open tender.

KCRC is under fire for paying an extra $1.53 billion to contractors, including Siemens, even though the German telecommunications giant has fallen behind schedule on a West Rail contract.