The Hong Kong Government has suspended the Hong Kong office of UK-based consultancy Arup from tendering for projects for a period of three months, accusing the firm of breaking confidentiality and conflict of interest rules.
This means that Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd (OAP), cannot bid for approximately 20 anticipated projects between November and February, and that in the region of HK$100m worth of tenders currently being assessed by government departments will now be under scrutiny.
With a 30 year history in Hong Kong working with both government and private clients, Arup was accused back in September by Hong Kong’s development minister of including confidential government population and employment projections in a bid by a private developer, New World Development, for approval from the Town Planning Board to build a residential scheme next to Wang Chau.
The Development Bureau has stated that the suspension of tendering penalty imposed on Ove Arup & Partners is appropriate.
In a statement last night, it said ‘the company did not comply with the terms of the government consultancy agreement in obtaining prior approval for undertaking a private development project’
‘It did not follow strictly the company’s internal procedures in preventing improper use of information, resulting in information obtained from the government consultancy agreement being quoted in the planning application of the private development project’.
‘It said the three-month suspension of tendering by the company in respect of all categories of consultancy agreements under the jurisdiction of the Engineering & Associated Consultants Selection Board is a proper penalty that will impact the company’
Ove Arup & partners suspended for three months