Leighton gets one-year ban MTRC contractor barred from tendering for government contracts

Top News | Phoenix Un 9 Oct 2018

Leighton Contractors, in a row over shoddy work on the HK$97.1 billion MTR Shatin to Central Link, has been banned for one year from tendering for government projects.

The Development Bureau said yesterday it has taken action against contractors involved in work scandals at Hung Hom, To Kwa Wan and Exhibition Centre stations in the project.

The initial allegation against the rail link came on May 30 this year when a Chinese newspaper reported that steel bars embedded in structural walls of Hung Hom Station were cut short. Other scandals followed.

A spokesman for the bureau said the Contractor Management Handbook states the bureau may take appropriate regulatory action against the contractor, include suspension from tendering or removal from the Lists of Approved Contractors for Public Works.

Leighton Contractors (Asia) Limited was punished with suspension from tendering for 12 months from yesterday for its responsibility in Hung Hom construction issues.

Exhibition Station, where work was suspended due to settlement exceeding the limit, also caused Leighton, along with another contractor China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Limited, to be suspended from tendering for some works categories for three months.

That means Leighton would be suspended from any bids for buildings and roads with a value exceeding HK$300 million for 15 months.

Leighton is listed in Group C of all construction categories, including buildings, port works, roads and drainage, site formation and waterworks.

To Kwa Wan Station also suffered from a thin wall which was shaven without permission, and both of the joint venture firms, Samsung C & T Corporation and Hsin Chong Construction Company Limited, were suspended from tendering for all works categories for four months.

The bureau also said the government reserves the right to take further regulatory action. However, government information shows that Leighton is still the contractor of government construction works worth more than HK$30 billion.

They include the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge boundary crossing facilities for HK$9.5 billion; the Central Interchange that connects the Central-Wan Chai Bypass to the road network at Central for HK$1.27 billion; and the East Kowloon Cultural Centre, for about HK$500 million.

Legislator Lam Cheuk-ting believes one year is not enough, and the government should instead suspend Leighton from tendering permanently.

"How can we have any confidence in them? They cheated in construction, without following the plan, and tried to camouflage the scandal, which is a very serious misconduct," Lam said.

The chairman of the Legislative Council subcommittee on railways, Michael Tien Puk-sun, said the punishment against Leighton was not inclusive enough, as it only covered government works - not those of the MTR, Airport Authority and West Kowloon Cultural District. "Under the suspension, Leighton may turn to bid for the Airport Authority's tendering of HK$50 billion, or WKCD tendering of HK$30 billion? It's the No 1 joke in the world," Tien said. He believed Leighton should also be banned from bidding for these three projects.

He also said a one-year suspension over the Hung Hom Station work was reasonable, but it was too light to suspend Leighton for only three months due to problems at Exhibition Centre Station.

Tien will not be the subcommittee chairman when the Legislative Council resumes this week.

It is understood the pro-establishment camp is unhappy he has been too outspoken in criticizing the MTR and the government, and another pro-Beijing legislator, Frankie Yick Chi-ming, will replace him.

The government appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the Hung Hom Station scandal in June, headed by retired judge Michael Hartmann.

It will report within six months.

Search Archive

Advanced Search
May 2019

Today's Standard

Yearly Magazine

Yearly Magazine