The original proponents of a USD 256m water treatment project are to seek compensation for development costs and a financial guarantee letter, said two sources involved.
Acciona and ACS’s subsidiary Tedagua were the originators of the private initiative to construct water treatment plants around Peru’s Lake Titicaca, but their bid was disqualified on 15 April on technical grounds and Proinversión awarded the 30-year contract to Mexico’s Fypasa on 29 April.
FYPASA won with the lowest bid for both the construction costs (RPI) and payments for the operation and maintenance (RPMO).
Separately, it has emerged that Peru’s National Audit office (Contraloría General de la República del Perú) has made observations to procurement agency Proinversión over the contract award, requesting an explanation from Peru’s procurement and investment agency (ProInversion) on the disqualification of the Acciona/ACS consortium – Aguas de Puno.
A source close to the process stated that should an irregularity be found in the process, it could result in the annulment of the project award.
A spokesperson for Proinversión told Inframation that “in no moment did the Contraloría object to the disqualification of the Aguas de Puno consortium… (but rather) the ‘adverse situation’ that they mention refers to an omission in the content of the technical proposal of Fypasa Construcciones and Operadora de Ecosistemas.” Proinversión maintains that they will provide evidence in the Contraloría’s timeframe that the adverse situation does not exist because the missing information they’re referring to is contained in Annex 21.
“Naturally, the proponent is free to make all of the queries that they see fit to. ProInversión ratifies in this sense that its actions conform to the legality and the unrestricted respect for the rules and norms under which the processes are conducted, since these are the main guarantee of transparency and predictability for the market,” the spokesperson stated.
Aguas de Puno incurred costs for developing the project, including the early stage development costs for the private initiative and studies carried out (the project has been under development since 2014), and the financial guarantee letter that proved the sincerity of the consortium’s bid for the project.
A source close to the deal told Inframation that according to the final version of the contract, development costs for private initiatives, along with financial guarantee letters are only entitled to be returned to the relevant company if its bid is “valid”. Given that ProInversión considered the proponent’s bid to be invalid due to failings at the technical level, the consortium is not officially entitled to the reimbursement of these costs.
According to one of the sources, Aguas de Puno has requested a copy of the technical report that disqualified their technical bid. The source added that the consortium has contacted various law firms in the country with a view to appealing ProInversión’s decision to disqualify its bid in the result that ProInversión does not reimburse the development costs and financial guarantee letter.
Peru’s national audit office sent a letter on 31 May to Alberto Ñecco, executive director of ProInversión, suggesting that the review of technical bids was incorrectly handled.
The contractual clause in question, 1.9, requested information from bidders on the application of a technical solution for each of five localities – Juliaca, Puno, Ayaviri, Llave Juli and Moho.
According to the letter, Proinversión rejected Aguas de Puno’s technical offer because its technical solutions for Llave and Ayaviri did not comply with the objectives and reach of the project.
The letter states that the winning Fypasa consortium only presented information related to the Juliaca plant, omitting the other four localities.
The letter also alleges that Proinversión failed to communicate these shortcomings to the bidders on 25 April, when it should have requested clarification as to why the proposals were incomplete.
As mentioned above, Proinversión challenges these interpretations of the process.
The report gives Proinversión ten days to take the necessary action to account for and, if necessary, rectify the irregularities encountered to ensure the continuity of the process.
None of the members of the Aguas de Puno consortium responded to requests for comment from Inframation.