Auditor authorizes Daule bridge contract

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Ecuador's comptroller general has authorized the official signing of a contract awarded to Brazilian construction company Andrade Gutierrez on March 5 to build a second bridge over the Daule river in the city of Guayaquil, Gonzalo Arias, constructions director at the country's public works ministry, told BNamericas.

The authorization comes after the comptroller, or national auditor, failed to detect any irregularities in the way the US$80mn contract was awarded. The contract will now be signed June 21, Arias said.

The project consists of building a four-lane road bridge, 25m high, parallel to the existing Rafael Mendoza or National Unity bridge, and enlarging and modernizing the latter. It also involves building 4km of access roads. Works are due to start in September and take 15 to 18 months.

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The tender process stirred up a great deal of controversy, prompting the government's anticorruption commission to investigate alleged irregularities, since the contract was awarded for US$74mn and not for the correct amount of US$79.9mn.

Norberto Odebrecht, another Brazilian construction company, filed a complaint claiming its bid was lower than the contract finally awarded, but higher than the publicly acknowledged amount.

Government officials said the discrepancy was simply a mistake and was not due to any corrupt practices.