KCRC chief executive Yeung Kai-yin denies senior management were negligent in checking an 'ultra-low' tender bid for a West Rail contract by communications firm Siemens. The rail operator's senior staff were criticised by legislators yesterday for not properly investigating Siemens' tender bid of $287 million to provide communications systems for the West Rail project. Siemens was paid an extra $100 million to complete the work, despite not meeting contract requirements. At a meeting of Legco's transport panel, the general manager of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation's railway systems, Leo Mak Sek-man, admitted the contract was awarded mainly based on written submissions from Siemens. Siemens' bid was 66 per cent lower than what the KCRC had estimated the work would cost. The bid was also 35 per cent lower than that of one other company that tendered for the project. Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said the KCRC had failed to properly check the German firm's proposal. 'Of course everything they presented in the proposal would be great. Did you ever doubt their capability? Do you admit someone may have been neglecting their duties? You have been deceived and dragged down by the reputation of Siemens because you simply believed it is a big company.' Mr Yeung denied management had been negligent and said the company had taken follow-up action. He said that at the time the company was convinced that Siemens had the ability to meet the tender requirements. 'Under no circumstances were we affected by the reputation of Siemens,' he said. When asked by Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, whether he felt the company had been cheated by the contractor when part of the project was delayed for more than 10 months, Mr Yeung replied 'a little'. KCRC chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun said the corporation would be 'extra vigilant' when looking at low tender bids in the future. But he said if the KCRC abandoned the principle of 'lowest bid wins' on non-critical projects, pressure could mount for fare increases.