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LPRC in legal battle over bidding process

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The bidding process for the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company or LPRC’s Product Storage Terminal Expansion Project on Bushrod Island has been engulfed by legal battle over pre-qualification of companies that submitted bids.

It all began when one of the seven (7) companies pre-qualified by the bidding committee, New York-based VREX REMODELING, INC. represented by its authorized agent in Liberia, H.Q. Taylor, filed a complaint to the Complaints, Appeal, and Review Panel or CARP of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) over the acceptance of bid from Lutech Engineering & Project Management Consultant FZC JV, which was not initially listed among the seven pre-qualified companies in violation of Part V, Section62(3) of the PPCC Act, 2010.

Documentary evidence gathered by this paper revealed names of the seven companies that were pre-qualified as: Xinjian Petroleum Investigation Design & Research Institute (Co. Ltd.), DRA, Letech Engineering, Enpetrol, Afcons Infrastructure Limited, Eco Fuel FZE and VREX REMODELING, INC.

The CARP, thru its Acting Secretary, Ben B. Teah, Jr. cited both VREX REMODELING, INC. and the LPRC Management to a hearing on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, pursuant to Part VIII, Section 126 of the Amended & Restated PPCC Act of 2010.

The Complainant was represented by Mr. H.Q. Taylor, while LPRC Management Director, Sumo G. Kupee, who happens to be the Respondent, represented his entity. However, in February Mr. Kupee informed the CARP thru a letter that it has hired the services of Dunbar & Dunbar Law Offices to represent its interest.

“Kindly take judicial notice and instruct the Clerk of the Complaints, Appeal & Review Panel to spread on the records of these proceedings that the Defendant, LPRC has retained the services of the Dunbar & Dunbar Law Offices to represent LPRC in connection with the above entitled cause of action.

And for so doing, this shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority”, the LPRC boss instructed. The Complainant argued that Lutech Engineering and Project Management Consultants FZC Joint Venture did not pre-qualify and therefore, should not have submitted a bid, but the LPRC Management contends that Lutech Engineering, listed among the seven companies that pre-qualified, is the short form for Lutech Engineering and Project Management Consultants FZC Joint Venture.

“For the information of the Panel, there are three (3) separate and distinct companies/entities: Lutech Engineering (Liberia) Limited (The Company which pre-qualified and should have singularly submitted a bid), Lutech Engineering and Project Management Consultant FZC, a Dubai company and Lutech Engineering & Project Management Consultant FZC JV (the entity which submitted the Bid)…”, the Complainant further narrated to the Panel.

However, it appears the LPRC Management is not comfortable with ruling brought down by the PPCC and has sought an appeal to the Circuit Court at the temple of Justice in Monrovia. In a communication to Cllr. Beyan D. Howard, Chairman of the CARP, dated February 10, 2016, Cllr. Stephen B. Dunbar, Jr. of the Dunbar & Dunbar Law Offices writes, “For and on behalf of Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, we acknowledge receipt on February 9, 2016 of the Final Ruling in the above entitled cause of action.

Kindly take judicial notice and instruct the Clerk of the Complaints, Appeal & Review Panel to spread on the records of these proceedings that the Defendant, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company excerpts to the Final Ruling of the Complaints, Appeal & Review Panel.”

Detail of the CARP’s Final Ruling from the hearing follows in our subsequent publication as our investigation continues into this matter, which from all indications, has the propensity to stall the entire bidding process and delay the Product Storage Terminal Expansion Project at the LPRC.

By Jonathan Browne-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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