Court orders BMTA to pay Bestlin Groups and affiliates 1,159 million baht over bus contract

The Central Administrative Court today (April 10) ordered Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the city’s bus operator, to pay compensation for damage worth 1,159 million baht to four suppliers of 489-unit NGV bus fleet for illegal cancellation of the procurement contract.

The four bus suppliers are Bestlin Groups, R & Commercial Vehicles SDN BHD, Sun Long (Shanghai) Automotive Company and Pei-fang Guangzhou New Energy Technology.

The court said that the Bestlin Groups and its three affiliated firms entered into a contract to supply BMTA with a fleet of 489 NGV buses on September 30, 2016 with a condition that all the buses were to be delivered within 90 days of the date of the signing of the contract.

The companies imported 489 NGV buses into the country on January 24, 2017 and 390 of them were installed with GPS system, including 292 which were registered with the Land Transport Department under the name of BMTA.

But BMTA refused to accept delivery of the buses, claiming that it had received a letter from the Office of the Attorney-General suggesting it to wait for an answer from the Customs Department regarding the origin of the buses.  BMTA also claimed that the bus fleet was not delivered within the 90-day deadline.

However, the court ruled that the BMTA’s claims to reject the bus delivery contradicted with the resolution of the committee charged with taking delivery of the buses that the suppliers could deliver the bus fleet in different lots.

The court ruled BMTA’s unilateral cancellation of the contract on ground that the suppliers did not supply the buses within the deadline as specified in the contract as wrongful.

Also, the courted noted that the origin of the buses which were supposed to be fully assembled in China was not an essence of this procurement contract although the contract stipulated that the buses must be fully assembled in China.

The court, however, ruled that there was no difference between the buses being fully assembled in China or in Malaysia as they serve the BMTA’s purpose to serve Bangkok bus commuters.