Ministry Official Claims No Knowledge of Bid

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.


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