Last Updated on Thursday, 2 November, 2023 at 9:07 pm by Andre Camilleri
WasteServ today rebutted claims made by Hitachi Zosen Inova AG-Terna S.A. in its appeal over the awarding of the contract for Malta’s waste-to-energy facility, maintaining that every aspect of the procurement process was properly adjudicated and above board.
WasteServ said in a statement that it has throughout been guided by the best practices in public procurement and principles of good governance to ensure a transparent awarding of the tender for the construction of the plant, which, once complete, will cause a seismic shift in how Malta manages waste.
The proposed waste-to-energy facility is essential for Malta. Once the plant is operational, the island will be able to move away from the primitive management of waste through landfills – that are costly to operate and harmful to the environment and human health – and secure Malta’s transition to a fully circular economy, the agency said.
The immediate implementation of this project is also key to saving 150,000m2 of agricultural land — an area equivalent to 30 football pitches — that was destined for a new landfill to take in mixed waste, an aim that becomes problematic if the plant is not up and running as planned in the first quarter of 2027.
From the outset, WasteServ said it was assisted by COWI A/S — a world leading consulting group with extensive experience in the procurement of waste and energy infrastructure — in the carrying out of preliminary market research, the drafting and design of the procurement documentation, the negotiation with bidders, and finally, the evaluation of the bids submitted.
WasteServ said it went a step further and engaged UK-based consultancy firm Frith Resource Management to audit the entire procurement procedure from the very first stage right up to the evaluation of the submitted bids.
In its concluding assessment, Frith Resource Management concurred with WasteServ and said “the procurement has been undertaken in a timely, efficient and equitable manner”, confirming the recommendation to award the multimillion project to Paprec Energies International – BBL Malta.
The Paprec Group, which forms part of a consortium that includes Bonnici Group, boasts a revenue of €2.5 billion and employs 13,000 workers across 300 sites, operating in eight countries and managing 32 energy recovery units.
In its appeal, Hitachi Zosen Inova AG-Terna S.A presented four main grounds of appeal.
Firstly, it claims that its technical proposal should have been given a higher score and that the reasons for it not to obtain higher marks are not sufficiently detailed, Wasteserv said.
However, when it attempts to justify this claim the appellant puts forward various simplified misrepresentations of the evaluation report and citations that omit the detailed justifications that it was in fact provided.
In its reply, WasteServ puts forward a comprehensive explanation of the evaluation process and its indisputable solidity and fairness. And while confirming the scoring given — which was independently audited and confirmed to be correct — it also explains that the appellant’s offer would still not have been ranked first, even if its contention was correct that it should have achieved a marginally higher technical score.
Secondly, WasteServ said it explained how the winning bidder’s eligibility was confirmed months ago, when the five participating consortia were shortlisted, and although the appellant’s claim is inadmissible at law, WasteServ maintains that the winning bidder submitted required documentation and fulfilled all eligibility requirements.
Thirdly, WasteServ said it has tendered evidence to prove beyond doubt that the winning bidder’s offer was not “modest” as claimed by the appellant, but was actually slightly higher than the official published estimated contract value of €549 million that was available and accepted by all bidders throughout the process.
Finally, the appellant argues that should the above elements not lead it to undertake the project at a price tag that is €182 million more expensive than that of the recommended bidder, and 42 per cent above the published budget, the procurement should be definitively cancelled due to procedural irregularities related to the publication of initial tender prices.
WasteServ said this grievance is inadmissible at law, how the published information aids transparency, competition and constitutes no irregularity, and how in fact the appellant itself, improved its initial offer the most with a reduction of €202 million from the originally quoted €984 million.