terça-feira, 19 de agosto de 2008

O Estado: Government annuls contracts at 9 airports

O Estado

Government annuls contracts at 9 airports

Construction, which was under suspicion of R$ 3 billion over billing, unlikely to restart this years

Vitor Hugo Brandalise

The minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, said yesterday that the contracts for construction at the country's airports in which the Federal Auditing Court (TCU) indicated irregularities will be annulled. The contract rescission is already being negotiated with the contractors, but there's still no deadline for signing. Meanwhile, the work in São Paulo, Guarulhos, Rio, Brasilia, Macapá, Vitória, Porto Alegre, Curitiba and Goiânia will remain halted - the minimum time for a new bid after after the negotiation of terms is, on average, six months, according to specialists in Public Law heard by O Estado. It can take longer if there are legal disputes.

According to what O Estado informed on Monday, TCU technical auditors indicated overbilling of about R$3 billion in the contracts, in airports administered by the Brazilian Airport Infra-Structure Company (Infraero). The decision to rescind the contracts was taken on July 17, in a meeting between the Minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, and president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. There was no official announcement, according to the ministry, because the participating consortiums had not been notified. "We are going to do a new bid in relation to this. They are old contracts, from 2004 and 2005, and they will be examined case by case", said Jobim, after participating in the opening of an aviation fair in
São Paulo.

According to Defense, with the companies responsible for the work already having been notified of the decision, the goal now is to avoid disputes in the courts that could cause even greater delays. Infraero informed in a note that "it is not possible to foresee how much time will be necessary for this to happen". In the same note, it affirmed that it was in contact with the contractors "to conduct the contract cancellation process".

Jobim also affirmed that all future contracts will be made based on the civil construction parameters for airport services - elaborated by the Federal Savings Bank. A table with these new parameters has already been sent to the TCU and is currently under analysis by official organs (such as the Brazilian Geographic and Statistical Institute, IBGE) and universities (such as USP and Unicamp). The Minister's expectation is that the analysis be finished by October - only after that could the new bid begin to be planned, with the approved table.

Sought out by the newspaper, the firm Queiroz Galvão, which is part of the consortium that is performing the work at Cumbica Airport, said through its press office that it will not say anything on the matter. Also contacted, Serveng, which is doing work at Cumbica, and OAS, part of the consortium doing the remodeling at Congonhas, did not respond.

PRIVATIZATION

The minister denied that there are any concrete proposals to begin the privatization of Brazilian airports, an idea defended by the federal government. "We're talking. Anac (the National Civil Aviation Agency) will set the model for eventual concessions. We need to know if it's convenient, if it will work or not. "

Jobim further refuted the declarations by TCU ministers, who raised the possibility of embarrassments in relation to the utilization of the airports in the 2014 World Cup. "This doesn´t match reality, and it's not up to the TCU to make this kind of evaluation."

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