Tram line tender documents may have been forged: claim

A repeat procurement of construction designs for the new Skanste tram line in Riga may have been rigged - it appears that some documents were falsified as one and the same specialist was mentioned in two separate bids, while the person did not even know about this, Transparency International-Latvia representative Janis Veide told a press conference July 3.

According to Integrity Pact - Civil Control Mechanism for Safeguarding EU Funds, which commenced in January 1,2016 and is backed by the European Commission, Transparency International-Latvia has been supervising implementation of Riga municipal transport company Rigas Satiksme's project on the development of Riga tram line infrastructure.

The first procurement process, which started in December 2016, was halted after Transparency International-Latvia turned to the Procurement Monitoring Bureau, pointing out that several provisions in the procurement rules would limit the number of companies bidding for implementation of the project and these provisions could be considered discriminatory. The Procurement Monitoring Bureau then ordered Rigas Satiksme to halt the procurement process and correct the requirements on bidders.

Rigas Satiksme started a new procurement process in July 2017. The company received three bids - from BRD Projekts, REM PRO, and Vektors T. BRD Projekts' bid was eventually selected, the contract amount being EUR 2,054,388. However, Rigas Satiksme concluded that two bidders' documents could have been falsified.

The two bidders had identified one and the same person as their expert on rail design. Both bidders' documents, allegedly signed by that person, said that he was not associated with the other bidders and not in a conflict of interest. Rigas Satiksme's Procurement Committee therefore concluded that the person's signature on one of these documents was forged.

Transparency International-Latvia told Rigas Satiksme's Procurement Committee that this could be a violation of the Criminal Law and recommended the company to turn to the authorities.

When Rigas Satiksme took no action, Transparency International-Latvia itself turned to the State Police, however, the police decided not to start a criminal process. Transparency International-Latvia then turned to the office of the Prosecutor General, which also refused to take any action.

The plan to build a new tram line to the Skanste district of Rīga, which has been earmarked for extensive development, has already seen plenty of controversy. As previously reported by LSM, the proposed route and the economic justification for the project have both come under heavy fire. The collapse of ABLV bank, a major backer, has also complicated matters.

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