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‘We Have Never Been Accused of Malpractice’

The Regional Secretariat for Equipment and Infrastructures issued a statement on Saturday contesting the alleged flaws of the public procurement procedures related to the works contracts for the Central and University Hospital of Madeira. In a statement, the Secretariat noted that his office “is totally unaware of the existence and content of an electronic communication dated the 22nd of June 2020, allegedly sent to the then Vice-President of the Regional Government.”

“All the solutions found were evaluated in their various components, technical, financial, and legal, and have always been decided internally by the SREI, and always in the public interest, while respecting the political decisions collegially taken in the Council of Government by the executive body of which it is a part.”

The SREI further states “that it has never seen its technical and functional autonomy called into question, with regard to the tender for the Hospital, or other tender procedures, without prejudice, of course, to the relations of political and administrative interdependence of the bodies that make up the government, which are provided for in the legislation in force.”

Furthermore, he assures, “all the public procurement procedures related to the construction of the Central and University Hospital of Madeira were prepared, in form and content, by SREI, without external interference, contrary to what seems to emerge from the electronic communication partially made public yesterday.”

“Not knowing the full content of this electronic communication, as well as the annex(es) it allegedly contains, SREI can state from now on that the content of the contracting procedures defined and implemented in the meantime will certainly be very different from those that seem to be recommended therein. In fact, both the award criteria defined and implemented, as well as all the procedures and decisions taken in the context of the tender, will certainly be substantively different from those allegedly suggested in the aforementioned communication of 22nd of June 2020.”

In the more technical explanations and the tender, it is mentioned that “despite the deadline extensions granted by the Regional Government, so that the competitors could prepare their proposals, none of the invited candidates submitted a proposal, leaving the Regional Government with no alternative but to decide to terminate the ongoing tender.”

Still, “SREI accepted the requested extensions because it wanted to obtain proposals and not the other way around, as has been malevolently suggested. For the Regional Government, the objective was to start the work, and the failure of this first tender was a setback to their original intention.”

In the organisation’s understanding, “if the objective was to make the tender unfeasible, no request for an extension of the deadline would have been accepted. However, this is not what happened. Following this, aware that the amount of 205,900,000.00 euros (which served as the basis for the procedure initiated in 2018) would be insufficient to launch a new procedure along the same lines, the Regional Government triggered two contracting procedures, namely the ‘Central Hospital of Madeira – 1st Phase – Excavation and Peripheral Containments’ and the ‘Central and University Hospital of Madeira – 2nd Phase – Structures and Outdoor Spaces,’ which does not include the finishing works and special installations,” and that the “SREI has planned to prepare a restricted tender procedure by prior qualification for the contracting of these works, which will represent the 3rd Phase of construction of the Central and University Hospital of Madeira.”

In the last point, by way of conclusion, we read that “the strategy defined to deal with the circumstance that the first tender was deserted is different from that allegedly suggested in the electronic communication to which we have been referring.”

It is interesting how many documents can be leaked in such a short space of time, especially, as only the interesting bits are divulged, leaving them out of context and open to interpretation.

Samantha Gannon

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