The procedure for purchasing the 100 buses for the municipality of Chisinau should be annulled as the tender contest wasn’t held transparently and multiple violations were committed, representatives of the Association for Efficient and Responsible Governance (AGER) stated in a news conference at IPN.
AGER representative Olga Diaconu said the municipality seems to have favored bus producer Isuzu. Even if the company that applied to take part in the contest is not the same as the one that took part in last year’s contest, the two companies have the same legal representative. Recently, the National Agency four Dispute Resolution annulled the decision to sign a contract with the chosen contractor and ordered to reassess the bids.
According to Olga Diaconu, the Chisinau City Hall accepted the bid of Isuzu even if there was presented a bank guarantee with a period of validity that was much shorter than the required one – 67 days instead of 120 days. The City Hall chose the bid of Isuzu, arguing a second letter of guarantee was submitted and this was appropriate. But this was presented after the time limit expired, without obeying the legal procedures. There is also no certainty that Isuzu will repair the buses during the guarantee period as it offered that the Urban Bus Company should perform repair works in the period at the service center of this authority.
Olga Diaconu said the previous experience with the Isuzu product also generates concern. In the spring of 2019, there were bought 31 Isuzu buses. A number of sources published pictures and videos showing that the buses were worn-out.
According to Eugen Kamenschik, climate and sustainable energy consultant, the procurement was held in the absence of public consultations. Being a member of the working group for the analysis of the options for renovating the buses, he repeatedly proposed considering the possibility of buying buses running on compressed natural gas. But this option was ignored. Emissions in the case of transport running on natural gas are much lower than in the case of units of transport running on diesel fuel and gasoline and the compressed natural gas is by 40% cheaper. The preliminary calculations showed that €10-15 million can be saved during 15 years if buses running on compressed natural gas are used instead of the buses running on fuel.
The AGER formulated a number of requests, including initiating a transparent process for preparing the tender documents, according to good European practices, involving experts in the field, and identifying possibilities for purchasing buses in smaller batches so as to enable more companies to take part in the tender contest.