Guan Yin project dispute purely over money, says Chun Wo

Guan Yin project dispute purely over money, says Chun Wo

Contractor insists no problems with progress and quality

 

The contractor at the centre of a tussle with a developer over a monastery project with the world’s largest Goddess of Mercy statue has insisted its dispute is purely over payment for additional work and costs incurred.

In a statement issued Thursday, Chun Wo Building Construction, a subsidiary of listed Chun Wo Development Holdings (0711), reiterated that the occupation permit was issued in late August 2012 while the contractual completion date has “tentatively” been fixed at 28 June 2013.

The amount of outstanding work at contractual completion date was less than one percent even after accounting for the large amount of variations issued.

“As such, there is no problem of progress,” the company said.

On quality of work, the company said the client’s representative had been overseeing the work all along and since the client had confirmed the completion of the work in writing, it meant that the work carried out by Chun Wo was in accordance with the contract.

Last Friday, the company issued a High Court writ to its client Metta Resources demanding payment of an outstanding sum of HK$335 million for additional work and costs incurred at the Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po district.

The project boasts the world’s largest statue of the Chinese Goddess of Mercy , Guan Yin, standing at 76 metres in height and overlooking Plover Cove.

The company said it had proactively been in contact with the client’s representative, a project management subsidiary of leading developer Cheung Kong (Holdings) (001) in order to discuss outstanding payments.

Cheung Kong was quoted by local newspapers last week as saying that the dispute was over progress and quality of work.

Although it has not been paid in full, Chun Wo said there were no outstanding payments due to its subcontractors and workers’ wages.

The litigation route was forced upon it, Chun Wo said, by the contract because the contract did not make any provision for mediation or arbitration.

Instead, disputes were to be resolved by negotiation, and if that failed, the dispute would go directly to litigation.

“This is a special case. We hope to recover the outstanding payments due through a fair, impartial and transparent legal process,” the company said.

Quoting the contents of the writ, local newspapers last week reported the provision of a specially protected dormitory at the project for Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing as well as detailing a raft of unfortunate mishaps that plagued the project.

Danny Chung

 

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