BTSC loses case over cancellation of Orange Line bidding
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) was on Tuesday acquitted of unlawfully cancelling the first bidding process for the Orange Line’s western section.
The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Tuesday ruled that the bid selection committee was authorised to cancel the process in the interest of the state and commuters.
The lawsuit was filed by the Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC), operator of the Skytrain and one of the original bidders, against MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas and six members of the selection committee.
It alleged that the seven defendants violated the Criminal Code by abusing their authority in cancelling bidding for the 128-billion-baht contract to construct the Orange Line section and operate the entire line.
The court reasoned that the seven defendants had changed the bidding rules and timeframe in line with the goal of the MRTA and Cabinet.
The changes were made after lengthy discussions among the committee and were not dictated by the governor, the court said.
It found that the plaintiff failed to provide convincing evidence that defendants cancelled bidding to benefit a private firm or had committed any malfeasance. The court also dismissed the plaintiff’s accusation that the defendants had discriminated against and persecuted BTSC.
The Orange Line project will run 35.9 kilometres from Min Buri in eastern Bangkok to Bang Khunon in the west.
The eastern section from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri is under construction and will stretch 22.5km with 17 stations, 10 of them underground.
The western section from Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khunnon will run for 13.4km with 11 underground stations.
The MRTA cancelled the first bid process on February 3 last year on grounds that it needed to change the bid criteria to prioritise technical data. Bids had already been put in by Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc (BEM), and a consortium of BTSC, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction and RATCH Group.
The second bid process was held on July 27 with two participants – the BEM and Italian-Thai Development Group. BEM won the contract by meeting technological requirements and offering the lowest price.