You’ll answer for the parking! Neftegazstroy to receive 500 mln rubles from Mosparking for unperformed contracts
Plane parking lots in Moscow will go down in history as one of the most scandalous projects of the Moscow City Government. Their construction involved disruption of completion deadlines, multimillion budgets, terminated contracts, replacement of contractors, and, of course, lawsuits. And a logical final for this story would be the payment of 500 million rubles by the Administrator of the Moscow Parking Space (AMPS) to the original contractor – Neftegazstroy – who has not constructed a single parking space.
Parking must be plane
The residents of Moscow have heard about plane parking lots for the first time back in 2013 – from a promising announcement by Maksim Liksutov, the Head of the Transport Department of Moscow. These parking lots have become visible de visu much later – and would never be forgotten. From the very beginning, the project implementation has turned into a detective story full of mysteries, including the exact number and location of the lots.
Artem Sizov / Gazeta.Ru
After almost a year of considerations – how many parking lots to build and where to deploy those, – the AMPS has announced four tenders to construct this transportation wonder. Two tenders for the total amount over 407 million rubles ( tender №1, tender №2) have been won by Turbinnoe Mashinostroenie (Turbine Engineering) company; the two others ( tender №3, tender №4) for the total amount over 638 million rubles have been won by Neftegazstroy. In total, the four tenders included the construction of 57 plane parking lots; out of those, 47 lots had to be built by Neftegazstroy. Obligations of Turbinnoe Mashinostroenie included not only the construction of the remaining ten lots on the turn-key ready basis, but also power grid connection for all the 57 facilities.
Results of the power supply tender had been announced on October 23, 2014; results of the three other tenders – on November 7, 2014. The completion deadline for all the four contracts was December 31, 2014. In other words, it was obvious for all the parties that the contracts were not feasible. The contractors were so obsessed with fatalism that have not completed even a single facility. After six months, it became clear for everybody: there is no point to wait for the parking lots. Finally, the AMPS has interrupted the long silence by a demonstrative fight with the negligent contractors – that looked more like a prearranged show.
The show has started with a termination of the contracts. In the end of July 2015, Turbinnoe Mashinostroenie and Neftegazstroy received truly fascinating written contract termination notifications. According to these letters, Turbinnoe Mashinostroenie and Neftegazstroy had fulfilled their obligations partially, and the AMPS has accepted a few facilities constructed by the companies. Works performed by Turbinnoe Mashinostroenie – i.e. power grid connection – have not been accepted at all. So, it was a mystery what power source the accepted parking lots had been connected to.
Sleight of hand and no fraud
Then the show has escalated to another level: the AMPS went to court requesting to terminate the contracts – already terminated on a unilateral basis – and collect the penalty from the contractors. The both lawsuits have been lost – but the litigation against Neftegazstroy was of special interest: the above-mentioned confusion with the number of parking lots has reached its pinnacle.
As said above, the four contracts included the construction of 57 plane parking lots. After the signing of the contracts, the AMPS has found lots of unnecessary items in the two contracts with Neftegazstroy. Amendments to contracts between the AMPS and Neftegazstroy have removed 20 facilities from the original list. 27 facilities still remained. The Moscow Arbitration Court, however, has solved this subtraction task in a different way.
The court has reasoned the failure of the contractors to fulfill the contract obligations by a number of violations committed by the AMPS and provided – in a single verdict – three different lists of parking lot addresses; each of these lists included several facilities removed as per the amendments to contracts. The first list of addresses was a responsibility of the AMPS – because it was provided in its lawsuit. The two remaining lists of facilities were just raising eyebrows.
The second list included facilities, for which the AMPS had not bothered to decline the acceptance certificates – so the court has found those properly constructed. The third list was the weirdest one. It included parking lots where equipment of Neftegazstroy – handed over to the AMPS for free use as per contract № MPP/15-12/0-901 – was stored.
The court, plaintiff, and defendant had been juggling with dozens of addresses and have uniformly closed eyes on the amendments to contracts. Neither did the court express any interest towards the absence of electricity on the parking lots. Claims of the AMPS have been dismissed, the higher instances upheld this ruling.
The law is harsh, but not to all
The final of this budget-shredding drama was full of sensational victories of Neftegazstroy in its legal battles with the Administrator of the Moscow Parking Space State Budgetary Institution. The first thing Neftegazstroy has done was the recovery of securities under contracts with the AMPS. The security provided under the first contact was 72.7 million rubles, while under the second one – 61.2 million rubles.
In other words, at the moment of the lawsuit filing by the AMPS, it allegedly had over 133.9 million rubles on its accounts – provided by Neftegazstroy as the contract security. Furthermore, the terms of the contacts allowed the client to redeem any sustained damages from this amount without a legal action. Why didn’t the AMPS use this possibility? Perhaps, there was no security at all? An indirect confirmation of this supposition is that the draft contracts with Neftegazstroy do not even provide banking information for the transfer of funds. Neither does the resolution part of the court decision indicate what evidence that the funds had been transferred was provided to the court.
Then Neftegazstroy has filed several lawsuits against the AMPS to collect payment for the performed works. Apparently, this was about parking lots recognized by the court – due to the negligence of the AMPS – properly constructed and lots accepted by the AMPS during the termination of contracts in July 2015. The claimed amounts varied in the four lawsuits from 38 to 132.4 million rubles ( lawsuit № 1, lawsuit № 2, lawsuit № 3, lawsuit № 4); two other lawsuits claimed considerably lesser amounts – 19.9 and 9.8 million rubles. The court has upheld the plaintiff's claims in full. Parking lots removed as per amendments to contracts have also been included into the amount payable. In total, Neftegazstroy has seized some 500 million rubles from the AMPS by court action – with an active help from the defendant.
With regards to the works performed properly by Neftegazstroy: a parking lot located near the main entrance to the All-Russia Exhibition Center – accepted by AMPS a long time ago – has been connected to the grid just recently by a totally different contractor. Neftegazstroy has done its duty, let him go.
Since early February, there has been a preventive operation of the National Police of Ukraine in cooperation with the border and migration services called ‘Migrant’. Its aim is to identify and expel thieves in law and foreign crime lords out of the country.