A consultant overseeing the government’s purchase of 13,764 motorbikes for retiring soldiers has refused to say why the Ziangmen Zhongyu Motor Group was chosen among 13 bidders—including eight who bidded a lower price—for the lucrative contract.
Saying only that the bidding process followed World Bank guidelines, Jeremy Purce of Thales E&C told The Cambodia Daily by e-mail that he would not reveal the reasons why competing bids were discarded.
“Instructions to the bidders only require the purchaser to reply to a given bidder as to why the purchaser had not awarded the contract to him. We thus feel that you will fully understand, after lecture of the above remarks, that we cannot give you more details as to why any given bidder was, or was not, considered substantially responsive or show the final evaluated prices,” Purce wrote.
His comment follows the revelation that World Bank authorities approved the government’s choice of a $6.93 million bid from Ziangmen Zhongyu despite lower offers from, among others, Sophorn Ratanak Construction, which said it would sell the government the same number of motorbikes for $4.96 million.
Purce said the companies were evaluated according to their “responsiveness” to the contract—a characteristic that included their eligibility as a bidder, the completeness of their bid (some bids were apparently discarded because they lacked signatures or company stamps, according to a World Bank document) and the company’s commercial properties.
Companies submitting bids were also expected to service the motorbikes for one year after delivery, and Ziangmen Zhongyu has a local subsidiary capable of offering the service, Purce said.
He did not name the local subsidiary, nor did he provide a local contact for Ziangmen Zhongyu as requested.
The winning bid charges some $503 per 125 cc motorbike. The Chinese-made motorbikes will be assembled in Cambodia.
The demobilized soldiers, many of them too ill or too old to fight, are being retired in two waves of 15,000 each. The motorbike contract was for the first group of soldiers, some of whom have been retired for more than a year while awaiting government assistance.