Mysterious Company Blocks Pelješac Bridge Tender

Total Croatia News

A company with no revenues has filed a complaint and suspended the tender for the largest infrastructure project in Croatia.

Lipov Gaj, a company from Zagreb registered for business and management consultancy, has filed an appeal against the tender documentation for the supervision of the construction works on the Pelješac Bridge. In this way, until the State Commission for Public Procurement Control makes its decision, the process of selecting a company for supervision of works has been suspended, which means that the works themselves cannot start, reports Jutarnji List on December 6, 2017.

This is the second time that the tender has been suspended, after an earlier complaint filed by the IDP company from Spain. The State Commission partially accepted that complain, and the Croatian Roads public company, which is the investor of the project, published on 24 November the amended tender documentation with a deadline for submission of bids of 21 December.

After the latest appeal was filed, the construction industry was surprised, because Lipov Gaj is not among companies doing supervision on similar projects. There is speculation that the complaint was filed on behalf of some larger group wishing to buy time and suspend the tender for a while.

Ivan Mandić, the owner of Lipov Gaj, denies this. “We are interested in this tender and have partners we want to work with. I am aware that people will talk, but we are not doing this on behalf of anyone. That is all I can tell you because the law does not allow any comments as long as the appeals process is ongoing,” said Mandić.

According to available information, Lipov Gaj complained that the deadline for submission of tenders was supposed to be at midnight on 21 December, and not at 10 am, as stated in the documentation. Furthermore, they say that the tender documentation is not precise because there are two paragraphs which describe the same issue, and it is not clear which one is correct.

According to the court register data, Lipov Gaj was founded in November 2016 with a capital of 10 kunas. Last year, the company had revenues in the grand total of zero kunas. Some have compared it with another small group, Sanga Vjetra from Split, which last year filed an appeal and suspended for a couple of months the tender for the selection of company to perform construction works on the Pelješac Bridge. At that time, many speculated that there was a major construction company which actually stood behind the complaint.

Due to this, the Croatian Roads public company will not be able to choose a company for supervision of works on the Pelješac Bridge this year. The tender was announced on 29 September, and the initial deadline for submission of bids was 30 October, but now everything has been delayed. Once the bids for supervision are finally opened, their evaluation will be carried out by Croatian Roads, which will take at least a month. After this, new appeals should be expected, and it usually takes about two months for the State Commission to resolve them. Therefore, the contract with the supervisor for the Pelješac Bridge construction could be signed in March or April next year.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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