Local February 6, 2017 | 9:10 am

Odebrecht US$92M bribe secured Dominican Republic power plant

Santo Domingo.- "They started a projectand set up a 600 mega gas-fired plant, they looked for financing, equipment, sites,everything … When they have everything assembled they don’t find the gas,then they do this study that cost ten million pesos, looking for gas in the world.They explain why there was no gas in the world for the project at that time andthey present this to the president, the president then authorizes them to turnthe project over and do it with coal. "

The quote is a transcript from newspaper7dias.com.do on August 19, 2014, on statements issued that same day by State-ownedElectric Utility (CDEEE) CEO Ruben Jiménez Bichara, during a luncheon with thepress on the tender process for the Punta Catalina coal-fired power plant.

"When the tender comes out eachparticipant was given six months, they (Odebrecht and associates) had beenworking on it three years. It had funding for each phase of the project with anadditional emergency exit," the transcript says, and quotes Jimenez Bicharato say that with that advantage, " it would’ve been rare" that they wouldlose the contest.

The consortium formed by Odebrecht, ofBrazil, Estrella of Dominican Republic and Tecnimont from Italy, which won thebid and is carrying out the Punta Catalina project, would have had otheradvantages, aside from the admitted bribes to officials in Danilo Medina’sadministration to pave the way to secure the contracts.

Two of the companies that submitted a tender,China Gezhouba and IMPE, took their complaints to court, that the State hadchose the company with the most expensive bid, and which violated the ceiling setby Congress.

"In fact, the 2014 State Budget establishedUS$1.5 billion as a maximum contracting amount for the Construction of ThermoelectricGeneration Plant to be arranged with international banking," outletdiariolibre.com reports.

The bid by Odebrecht and partners was US$2.04billion, while the other three competitors which made offers presented figuresbelow the Budget ceiling.

"It was understood that all participantsshould have submitted lower coss than the established," stressed IMPE inits lawsuit before the Superior Arbitration Court.

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