Bestlin seeks to block new NGV bus bids
Bestlin Group has called on the government to halt plans for new bidding to procure 489 new natural gas vehicle (NGV) buses, saying a legal dispute between the firm and the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has not been finalised.
In a fresh move against the BMTA, Bestlin, which saw its contract to supply 489 buses scrapped early this month, has sent a legal team to lodge a petition opposing a new bus procurement plan at Government House.
Santi Piyathat, a lawyer representing Bestlin Group, said the company wants the new bidding process to be halted until the legal dispute with the BMTA has been settled.
The scrapping of the contract is unfair and has caused the company 3.9 billion baht in damage, he said.
The BMTA revoked the contract to procure 489 NGV buses from Bestlin Group on April 12, claiming the company broke the contract by failing to deliver all buses on schedule.
But Mr Santi defended his client, citing a Central Administrative Court-issued injunction in March instructing the BMTA to accept the 390 buses released by the Customs Department until a ruling is delivered.
He said the BMTA did not follow the court's order.
The delivery of the NGV buses was delayed after some of the buses were seized by the Customs Department at Laem Chabang port in a scandal over false tax declarations by the importer, Super Zara Co.
Under the contract, Bestlin was required to deliver all 489 buses to the BMTA by Dec 29 last year.
Mr Santi said the company will also seek a court order prohibiting the BMTA from proceeding with fresh bidding to find a supplier for the buses.
Somsak Hommuang, deputy permanent secretary for transport and acting BMTA director, played down Bestlin Group's move on Monday, saying the company had the right to file a petition with the government.
He insisted the bus agency is complying with regulations and the issue has been reported to the "superboard", the State Enterprises Policy Commission, which gave the BMTA the green light to start the procurement process anew.