As a review takes place by the Audit Office after a public complaint, a government official has come out in defence of the tendering process for the Penrhyn Cyclone Shelter project.
Garth Henderson from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management said the
tendering process for a $5.3 million project to construct two multi-story
masonry cyclone centres on Penrhyn was carried out above board and followed
confident that the tender process undertaken by ICI (Infrastructure Cook
Islands) and due diligence undertaken by the Tender Committee and the
accompanying paper trail are sufficient to establish that nothing inappropriate
has taken place,” Henderson wrote in an email to Cook Islands News.
procurement is an open and transparent process with a grievance channel and due
diligence from Audit available to complainants as well.”
contract was awarded to Civil Contractors Limited (CCL), which is expected to
begin building the shelters at the villages of Omoka and Te Tautua on the
northern group island next month.
project has been embroiled in controversy with the Opposition Democratic Party
and members of the public calling for an investigation by the Cook Islands
Audit Office. A company official said the complaint over the tender boiled down
added: “… strong Procurement Policy has strengthened the tender process for
public infrastructure to ensure a level playing field is provided to potential
bidders to ensure that taxpayers get infrastructure at the best possible price
solid procurement policy is an area we have expended a lot of energy in
strengthening over the years.”
construction has been delayed as Civil Contractors Limited was waiting for
their shipping subcontractor to receive a barge that had been procured in
barge, named MV Taunga Nui, arrived in Rarotonga on Friday. Henderson said it is “encouraging” that Civil
Contractors Ltd has chosen to take on projects in the Pa Enua, which he
describes as a challenging environment.
few companies are available and willing to undertake project work in the Pa
Enua and if they do it is at great costs,” Henderson said.
recent times, where we only had one local company willing to do work it was at
a price level that was simply unacceptable.”
article published this week stated the barge to be used in the project is owned
and operated by Cook Islands General Transport. A previous article incorrectly
stated it was owned by Civil Contractors Limited.