The ‘Twin Towers’ project is still alive, not disrupted: Hau

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin yesterday maintained that the city’s “Twin Towers” project is still alive, and no one in his government will need to step down over the latest contract blunder. Although the forerunning bidder has been disqualified, the city government is still on track to negotiate a contract with the runner-up, Hau said, adding the project has never been “disrupted.” He stressed that the screening of the bidders was conducted under “strict” control, but he declined to speculate why the original winner failed to submit the security deposit of NT$1.89 billion. The mayor dismissed speculation that five of the city’s department chiefs will be axed because of their participation in the screening process. Hau maintained that everyone on the screening committee for the project acted “impartially,” and the committee meetings were fully taped and videoed

The project has been plagued by controversies since the city awarded the contract to Taipei Gateway International Development Co., Ltd. (TGID) last year. BES Contructions, which came in the second in the screening process, openly questioned the city’s decision, alleging there was some kind of fraud behind the scene. City Councilor Angela Ying also questioned the bidding process. Most of the allegations claimed that TGID was financially incapable of handling a NT$70 billion project to build a downtown commercial complex including two high-rises near the Taipei Railway Station. TGID was required to submit a security deposit by midnight Feb. 22, but it missed the deadline, resulting in its disqualification. Now the rights to negotiate a contract with Taipei have been awarded to BES. Hau said the three bidders to the project had their financial health evaluated by two major consulting firms, which determined that the bidders were financially sound. Hau said the TGID case will be thoroughly studied to determine whether improvements will be needed for contract negotiations, and such findings will serve as references for dealings with BES. If anyone is found to be at fault in the TGID case, he or she will be punished, the mayor said.

Asked if he will reshuffle his team of administrators, Hau said some changes will be made as his deputy mayor, Chen Wei-jen, has left for a Cabinet post, and the transport department chief, Lin Chi-lung, has resigned for personal reasons. But he stressed that the changes will have nothing to do with the Twin Towers controversy.