2015-11-10

Restoration of arches and pagoda in Chinatown (Call for tenders VMP-15-015), filed on November 10, 2015

Summary

Initiated after allegations of collusion or irregularities in connection with the contract for the restoration of the arches and the pagoda in Chinatown, the investigation does not demonstrate any collusive practice or directed call for tenders in favour of the specific tile supplier. The complainant was the victim of his potential subcontractor, who attempted to secure a competitor’s bid.

SUMMARY

On October 8, 2015, a formal notice was sent to the Ville-Marie borough’s Direction of public works concerning the call for tenders VMP-15-015. Despite the absence of any official complaint, the Office of Inspector General, which was placed in copy of the formal notice, decided to open an investigative file.

The author of the formal notice, a contractor who did not submit a tender, maintains that there were irregularities in the call for tenders process concerning a specific product that was required and for which only one (1) supplier was allegedly authorized. This supplier allegedly refused, according to these claims, to give the contractor’s company an estimate for the value of the product, indicating that it did business with only one (1) firm.

Moreover, on October 13, 2015, a Montréal daily newspaper referred to the [TRANSLATION] “appearance of collusion in the awarding, by Montréal, of the contract to renovate the arches in the Chinese quarter, for which the City was preparing to pay 1500% too much for tiles.”

As will be shown in this report, the investigation demonstrated that the borough’s requirement for a specific product was completely legal, that there was no collusion and that the call for tenders was not directed. Above all, the investigation demonstrated that the complainant is, to a certain extent, the author of his own misfortune, partly as a result of poor planning on his part as well as a manoeuvre on the part of his potential subcontractor, who wanted to secure the tender of a competitive contractor.

The investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General also demonstrated that the cost of purchasing the tiles was in fact Can$50,000, according to the two (2) sole bidders. Moreover, a reading of the special requirements of the call for tenders, a document available to anyone who requests it, would have revealed that the cost for purchasing the tiles is only a small part of the cost of the work to be done under Chapter 7 of the call for tenders.

Finally, the reasons for the significant differences between the borough’s estimate and the lowest bidder, as indicated in the decision-making summary for the elected representatives, is consistent with the information obtained during the investigation.

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Restoration of arches and pagoda in Chinatown (Call for tenders VMP-15-015), filed on November 10, 2015