A local representative of the Australia-based contractor 5 Golden Stars P/L has appealed to the National Assembly Construction Commission not to switch contractors for the design and construction of a new Assembly building after his company had already been guaranteed the job and secured financing.
The commission has now decided to give the contract to Ly Chhuong Construction, Import and Export Co, a company that did not even make the commission’s initial short list, said Kim Khieng, director of the local Giang Shi Trading and Construction Co Ltd, a subsidiary of 5 Golden Stars.
“The commission didn’t inform us in advance that they would drop us. Now it is too late. At the least I will ask for compensation. But if we don’t sue the commission, the Australian [financier] will, because they spent a lot of money already,” he said Thursday.
David Walsh, the chairman of 5 Golden Stars, secured a $15 million loan from Business Australia Capital Finance Pty Ltd at the request of Cheam Yeap, chairman of the Construction Commission.
On Nov 8, 2002, Cheam Yeap wrote to Walsh, “5 Golden Stars P/L shall make delivery of a Performance Bond of ONE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLAR and provide evidence of adequate capital to afford the project implementation within 21 days upon receipt of this Letter of Intent, and consequently the Contract will be signed.”
Kim Khieng said: “I just want to inform the government about the National Assembly. The National Assembly produces the law. I want to know whether it has neutrality or not.”
Ly Chhuong, director of the Ly Chhuong company, confirmed on Thursday that his firm was awarded the contract for the new Assembly building in January, even though it was not one of the commission’s final choices.
A form letter from Cheam Yeap to Ly Chhuong dated June 6, 2002, reads, “Your company’s qualifications and work experience are impressive, but unfortunately we feel that they do not best match our requirements. However, we will keep your file in case such an opportunity opens up.”
Ly Chhuong refused to comment on why his company was awarded the contract after all. He suggested such questions be directed to Cheam Yeap.
Cheam Yeap could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Assembly Secretary-General Kol Pheng refused to comment on the case Thursday.
Kim Khieng wrote a letter to Funcinpec lawmaker Keo Remy, dated Feb 27, in which he urged the parliamentarian to help his company find justice.
Keo Remy responded by writing to Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh on Thursday urging him to sort out which company deserved the contract and ensure the Assembly’s neutrality.
He wrote, “According to [Kim Khieng’s] complaint, it is very interesting. On the other hand, most of the lawmakers do not even know about the contract.”
Keo Remy said Thursday that if Prince Ranariddh did not resolve the matter fairly, it would reflect poorly on the Assembly.
The Construction Commission’s November letter of intent to 5 Golden Stars said the contractor would receive $24,949,121 upon completion of the new Assembly.
Business Australia Capital Finance Pty Ltd’s letter of intent to provide funding valued the land title—which would be held by the contractor until paid in full—for the proposed future Assembly site at $20 million. The site is adjacent to the Buddhist Institute and the new Naga casino building.