Cyprus Mail

Limassol mayor quizzed over tender procedure for waste management contracts

Incumbent Andreas Christou

Limassol mayor Andreas Christou on Monday told police investigators what he knew of the waste management contracts awarded to Helector, the company embroiled in a corruption and overcharging case.
Christou, who was interior minister at the time in question (2003 to 2006), was asked to provide police a statement, although he is not facing any charges and is not a person of interest.
During his statement, which lasted about an hour, the mayor explained the procedures that led to the awarding of the waste management contracts to Helector.
He told investigators that the public tender for the landfills was at the time co-financed by the European Commission.
Christou explained that, under the law governing public procurements and under the terms of the tender, the government was not obliged to award the contract to the lowest bidder.
When assessing bids, authorities first open a bidder’s technical offer. If the technical offer meets the specifications, the bidder’s financial offer is then opened.
In the case in question, Christou reportedly told police, the other bidders other than Helector did not meet the technical specifications, therefore their financial offers were not considered.
In 2006 Helector landed the contract for building and operating the waste treatment and management facility at Koshi, with an offer of €135 million.
This was considerably higher than another bid, at €79 million.
But according to Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos, the tender was tailored to suit Helector’s bid. Among other things, the tender documents were made available only in Greek. Also, the government’s engineering consultants, ENVIROPLAN, favoured the mechanical biological treatment (MBT) method, which happened to be the system used by Helector in its waste processing and management projects.
So far 12 persons are facing bribery and corruption charges in the case, which is set to go to trial. Police investigations are ongoing.
Also on Monday, Christou’s AKEL party released a statement accusing the ruling DISY party of seeking to implicate its members in the affair.
Christou’s integrity and commitment to principles cannot be brought into question, AKEL said.
The party lambasted Phedonos, a member of the DISY party, for smearing people’s reputations.
Earlier, Phedonos had attributed ‘political responsibility’ for those in government at the time the contracts were awarded.

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