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A legal dispute has paralyzed the contractual process for the new hospital for Chile's Ñuble province, as an administrative court has decided to extend an existing suspension by another 30 working days.
The resolution followed a request from construction firm Astaldi, who alleged there were irregularities during the tendering process, in which its bid was declared inadmissible.
The country's public procurement tribunal originally decided to suspend the awarding process for the project by one month, but decided to extend the suspension for another 30 working days starting on August 31, according to a court ruling. The contract was initially due to be awarded to consortium ISO Chile for 182bn pesos (US$279mn) in July.
In early August, Astaldi requested to impugn a resolution from the project's evaluating committee that declared the Italian company's offer "inadmissible"; an act which, the firm claims, violated several aspects of the Chilean public purchase and state administration laws, alongside the project tendering bases.
The awarding of the contract to ISO Chile, which is made up of Italian construction firms Inso, Condotte and Cossi, was approved by the same resolution that rejected Astaldi's offer, court documents show. This resolution was approved by the country's comptroller.
It should be noted that in November 2016, when the same project had been tendered previously, the comptroller had approved a similar resolution to reject Astaldi, arguing that the contractor had omitted important documents.
The Ñuble Hospital will be a 128,000m2 structure in Chillán, which will have capacity for 530 beds and also have a heliport, 14 wards, 17 dental clinics and 24 dialysis chairs, among other installations.