Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Brussels, September 22 (EFE).- The Belgian Court of Auditors has questioned whether the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava was responsible for the construction of a train station in the Belgian city of Mons, considering that he benefited from an early advantage that falsified the competition. Competition for which the project was awarded.

In a report developed by the Belgian media “Le Soir” and “RTBF”, the court cited irregularities and a lack of transparency in the public contract for the project, managed by the Belgian National Railway Company (SNCB), which is eight years old. Behind schedule and multiplied by ten the initial budget, up to 332 million euros.

According to Belgian auditors, to whom the country’s parliament requested a report on the project, the designation of Santiago Calatrava as the winner of the competition for which the construction was tendered in 2006 “suffered from a gap in transparency and respect for the principle of equality and openness to competition.

This is because in 2004, when the project was first proposed, which then only created a walkway to connect a square with the existing Mons station, the Spanish architect was commissioned to do a feasibility study for which he had access. Information that gave an advantage over other bidders after two years.

The Court of Auditors considered that the winner of the competition “could benefit from an advantage that could distort the competition. Due to the absence of communication with all the candidates of the information exchanged in the framework of this study, which made it possible to restore the balance between them, the cancellation of the participation of this candidate should have,” according to the report cited by Belgian media.

The court also looked at the problems related to the changes in the project, which ranged from a footbridge with a budget of 37 million euros to the construction of a new multimodal station worth 332 million today, and which were legally reflected only in the preliminary clauses. Contracts without opening fresh tenders.

For auditors, the changes made to the initial contract “could justify the introduction of a new public bidding procedure.”

The court noted that the clauses added to the initial contract significantly expanded the architectural services, that the changes had a budgetary impact and that they introduced conditions that “might have allowed the selection of another offer if they had been known from the beginning of the contract. “Competition”.

The report also cast doubt on the transparency and control of the budget, saying that its data “had gaps”, that the changes were “poorly explained” and that the court was not able to obtain all the documents justifying each document. Phases of the project, something he blames on Euroger, a now-defunct subsidiary of SNCB.

These problems with the documentation “do not allow the Court of Auditors to guarantee that it was subject to systematic monitoring and control or sufficient transparency,” the document cited by RTBF said.

They have indicated to Efe from the court’s auditor that the document cited by the Belgian media has not yet been approved by the General Assembly, which today adopted the final report which should be translated and sent to Parliament before publication.

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