The US-Turkish consortium Bechtel-Enka was the sole bidder in the construction of the so-called Morava Corridor, the Serbian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Ministry said amid protests from the opposition and the Transparency Serbia.
The ministry said that it would report to the Serbian government as soon as its working group checks Bechtel-Enka’s bid to see if all criteria have been met. The government has the final say on the construction of the Morava Corridor (the E-761 motorway from Pojate to Preljina).
The Morava Corridor will be 112 kilometres long and will link the Corridor 10 to the recently opened the Milos Veliki motorway. The project includes the construction of telecommunications infrastructure and the regulation of the Western Morava river.
The ministry signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation to build the Morava Corridor in October 2018 which limited the funds to be spent on 800 million euro. The ministry’s working group, deciding on the bid, include Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic, Finance Minister Sinisa Mali, the members of the Serbian PM and Serbian President’s cabinets, State Attorney Olivera Stanimirovic and representatives of the Security Information Agency and the CEOs of the state-owned roads companies.
The government even adopted a law to define the public interest and special procedures to build the E-761 motorway, saying that the law was introduced to expedite the expropriation of land for the road.
Transparency Serbia says there was no reason to pass a special law for a single case of expropriation that could have been regulated by the existing law covering all similar cases. It added that a decree issued earlier this month regulated how the best bid is chosen and the “obviously discriminatory” conditions and criteria which said the bidders had to have experience in building roads, bridges and regulating rivers in southeastern Europe amounting to at least 15 years.
The opposition Freedom and Justice Party (SSP) said that it would file charges against the members of the government working group, alleging that the tender for offers to build the Morava Corridor was fixed and claiming that this was proved by the fact that the Bechtel-Enka consortium was the sole bidder. It also called state institutions to annul all secret deals on infrastructure projects and review the plan to build the Pojate-Preljina motorway segment and call another tender to get the best offers.
People’s Party deputy leader Miroslav Aleksic said that the opening of the offers for the construction of the Morava Corridor was a farce, adding that the tender should be annulled because it was not transparent and favored one company which, he recalled, had signed a memorandum of understanding with Minister Zorana MIhajlovic.
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