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Nipdec forced to release bus tender info

Published: 
Monday, November 20, 2017

The National Insurance Property Development Company Limited (Nipdec) has been ordered to disclose documents related to the tendering process for a contract to supply 35 buses to the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) in 2013.

Delivering a 17-page judgment in the Port-of-Spain High Court last week, Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell ruled that Nipdec could not prove it was exempt from disclosing the documents to Wescan Trinidad Agency, one of the companies that was unsuccessful in the tendering process.

In 2012, Nipdec was engaged by PTSC to procure 100 CNG-powered and GPS-capable buses in three phases over five years.

Wescan, the local agent for Chinese bus company Higer, filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act after the contract for the first phase of 35 buses was awarded to construction company Super Industrial Services (SIS).

Nipdec provided a list of the bidders, the composition of its team which evaluated the bids and the score Wescan’s bid received. However, it refused to reveal anything further as it claimed the information would be prejudicial to the business interests of the other companies which submitted bids.

While Donaldson-Honeywell agreed with Nipdec that it could not disclose the other companies’ private financial records, which were included in their bids, she said all other documents should have been disclosed.

“As regards to the other documents, however, Nipdec has failed to show that the public interest lies in protecting the evaluation scores so that to disclose them will not uphold the public interest in accountability and transparency in public procurement,” Donaldson-Honeywell said.

Donaldson-Honeywell ruled that Nipdec’s refusal was unreasonable, irregular and was an improper exercise of discretion.

In addition to ordering Nipdec to disclose the documents, Donaldson-Honeywell also ordered it pay Wescan’s legal costs. Wescan was represented by Vivek Lakhan-Joseph, while Dominique Martineau represented Nipdec.