ADB-funded Vietnam project inspected for suspicious bidding process

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The Ministry of Transport has announced it will inspect a bidding package at an Asian Development Bank-funded project after the selection of a contractor was accused of being "problematic," online newspaper Dan Tri reported.

The US$97.4 million Second Northern GMS Transport Network Improvement Project, which aims to expand and upgrade an 88 kilometer section of National Highway 217, began construction in June 2013. Of the total funding, ADB provided $75 million.

Inspectors from the ministry said they received accusations that the ministry's Project Management Unit 1 (PMU1) -- the project's investor -- selected a high-bid contractor for the HW217-11-1 bidding package.

The contractor selected cost VND177 billion ($8.4 million), which another contractor had offered around VND150 billion ($7.1 million), according to inspectors.

Nguyen Van Huyen, chief inspector, said anyone who violated bidding regulations would be punished.

The Second Northern GMS Transport Network Improvement project is part of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program ratified by leaders of regional countries at the GMS Summit in July 2005.

National Highway 217 is seen as a strategic route that links Laos' northeastern region with the north of Vietnam and Nghi Son Port in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa.

The upgrade of the highway aims to deliver its full potential increase in traffic, trade, and economic development.

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