The director of procurement at the Ministry of Finance said Tuesday that he was unaware of any bidding for a contract to construct a new ministry building in Phnom Penh, despite claims by one official that a proper bidding process had occurred.
New Hope Co Ltd construction company was awarded a government contract to build the new headquarters for the Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspection.
Huot Hak, director of the ministry’s personnel and administration department, said last week that, after a proper bidding process, New Hope was awarded the contract when it offered to construct and equip the building free of charge in exchange for half of the construction site—a large public playing field and garden in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune.
But Chhay Vuth, director of the public procurement department at the Ministry of Finance, said he had not received any documents pertaining to the bidding process.
“I didn’t receive the work relating to this company,” he said.
Company and government officials have provided little information about New Hope, referring questions back and forth between each other.
The company is registered at the Ministry of Commerce under a nonexistent address. One of its listed owners, Lay Bunpa, said last week the company was moving its offices and would reveal its new address in three months.
But Chhay Vuth said that a company must be registered with a valid address before it can be awarded a government contract.
Long Sophorn, chief of the company registration bureau at the Commerce Ministry, said New Hope should have notified the bur-eau about its change of address.
“They must come to arrange documents with me,” he said. “If not, they can be fined in cash.”
Lay Bunpa said Tuesday that he was busy and refused to comment on how his company won the contract or on future plans for the centrally-located site.
“Let people criticize, I don’t care,” he said before hanging up.