Official resigns over botched Twin Towers bid
CNATAIPEI--Richard Chen, commissioner of Taipei City Department of Rapid Transit Systems, has tendered his resignation to take responsibility for a blotched bidding process on a major development project in the city, Mayor Hau Lung-bin said Sunday.
February 25, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The consortium that won the bid for the NT$80 billion (US$2.70 billion) Taipei Twin Towers project failed to deposit the required performance guarantee of NT$1.89 billion, Hau said.
He did not confirm whether he had accepted the resignation offer by Chen, who was in charge of the bidding process for the project that will be located near Taipei Railway Station and will link the city's railway lines, metro systems and bus terminals.
The mayor said the city government will first conduct an internal evaluation before making any personnel changes.
Some reshuffling will be necessary, particularly as the city's Deputy Mayor Chen Wei-zen was appointed secretary-general of the Executive Yuan earlier this month, Hau said at a cultural festival in the city.
The government carried out credit checks on all the bidders for the Taipei Twin Towers development project and asked them to post a bid bond of NT$130 million, while the winner was required to deposit a NT$1.89 billion guarantee, Hau said.
It is not clear why the winning consortium of Taipei Gateway International Development Co., Ltd, Malaysia-based IGB Corp Bhd, and Mid Valley City Sdn Bhd failed to make the deposit, he said, but speculated that it might have been due to internal problems.
The consortium, which was awarded the contract in October 2012, will lose its right to undertake the project and its deposit will be forfeited, Hau said.
Meanwhile, the city government will begin the process of negotiating with the second and third bidders in line, Hau said.
The city government is scheduled to hold talks with BES Engineering Corp today, the second-best bidder, according to Chen.
Chen offered an apology to the public after the consortium failed to make the deposit, and said he is willing to take political responsibility.
In recent meetings, Chen said, he offered several times to resign but received no response from the mayor. Chen took the up the commissioner's post in 2009, replacing Tom Chang who had stepped down over a series of malfunctions on the Muzha-Neihu MRT Line.
The Taipei Twin Towers are expected serve as the hub for a new MRT line that will connect Taipei to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
According to the city government, the two towers — one 243 meters tall with 56 floors and the other 76 stories high at 322 meters — will have 1.5 times the combined floor space of Taipei 101, one of the world's tallest skyscrapers.
The latest glitch might cause a delay in the construction of the twin towers, which were scheduled to be completed by 2017 and 2018, respectively.
The project was initiated by President Ma Ying-jeou in 2004 when he was Taipei mayor and it had suffered four failed bids previous to last year.
It is expected to generate additional tax revenues of NT$1.1 billion for the city government and boost the domestic steel industry, creating purchase orders up to NT$58 billion, according to the United Evening News.