Cabinet diverts Southern Highway tender
By Marisa de Silva
The Cabinet overruled a three-member Appeal Board decision and awarded a tender of over Rupees eight billion to a Japanese company under controversial circumstances for the construction of part of the Southern Highway project.
The Government’s Procurement Appeal Board (PAB), which studied an appeal and ruled that a Korean company initially selected for the project be awarded the tender, had been overruled by the Cabinet to award it to the next eligible company.

PAB Chairman, former Judge K. Viknarajah said, “Although we made this decision, it must be noted that the Cabinet has a clear authority to overrule any decision made by us if they deem it necessary.”

Highways Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle submitted the Cabinet Paper this week, but declined to comment on the company selected for the project. However The Sunday Times learns that the Highways Ministry Secretary S. Amarasekara had already instructed the Project Director to go ahead with the award of the contract. In November 2005, the Cabinet granted Daewoo E. & C. Co. Ltd. a tender for the construction of the JBIC-funded Southern Highway section from Dodangoda to Kurundugahahethakma. However, this tender was later recalled and awarded to a Japanese firm Taisei Corporation.

Mr. Amarasekara said the Daewoo proposal was dismissed as it did not conform to the specifications outlined in the tender requirement. He claimed that he had not been officially notified with regard to the Cabinet’s final decision and that he expected to receive official notice following next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

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