ECONOMY

Consortium wants full payment

A US-led consortium that installed a giant communications network for Greece’s security forces, which was first fully used for the Athens Olympics this summer, complained yesterday it has received less than half the money owed to it and said the Greek state appeared to be backtracking on its commitments as stated in a memorandum of understanding signed last July. The consortium is led by San Diego Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and includes Germany’s Siemens, the US’s General Dynamics, Honeywell International and Israeli firm Elbit systems. The consortium bid successfully to install the security system, which includes both hardware and software components, for 252 million euros. It now claims this amount, plus 7 million euros for extra work done at Attica Police Headquarters. So far, it has been paid 117 million euros. The Ministry of Public Order also disputes that the system was delivered «in its entirety.» The SAIC-led consortium was supposed to deliver the system by May 28, but did not because of venue construction delays, its representatives said yesterday. «At that moment, only 40 percent of the venues were available for us to move in and install the systems,» said David Tubbs, a SAIC senior vice president and the person in charge of the project. «There was also a shortage of telephone circuits and power.» In certain areas, such as downtown Athens hotels that would host members of the Olympic family, the consortium was not able to begin the security system installation until August 6, forcing consortium experts to work day and night until the very last moment to install the system. «The system was completed two hours before the opening ceremony,» Tubbs said. What SAIC said it delivered included: software for administration and decision-making support; local- and wide-area data networks; video surveillance systems installed in three helicopters,an airship, 12 Coast Guard patrol boats, 4,000 vehicles, 281 concrete columns on Athens’s roads and 1,000 locations in the Olympic Village and the venues; security systems in nine ports; a complete TETRA communications system; a vehicle identification system; 31 central and regional command centers, 105 command centers in Olympic venues and five mobile command centers. Tubbs said that construction delays meant that 63 of the 105 venue command centers could not be outfitted before July and that the consortium used an extra 100 employees to train Greek security forces. The memorandum of understanding signed between the consortium and the Greek state on July 5 stated specifically that the general test made on July 1 found that the system «…is operational and suitable to the extent and the level of (the trial operation), with some missing aspects and deviations which, however, do not affect its usability and suitability and do not render the system unsuitable for the use it is designed for.» With the memorandum, the parties agreed to the transfer of the system from SAIC to the ministry, a trial of subsystems within 10 days, a further general trial on October 1 and the revision of the contract to include what was agreed in the memorandum agreements. No general trial occurred on October 1 and talks with the Public Order ministry are dragging on. «We still want an amicable solution but we believe that we have a very strong case as far as the capabilities we delivered are concerned,» Tubbs said. Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis has said the system is fully operational.