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GeneralLiberia news

NEC raises concerns

-As voters’ registration may delay

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has raised series of concerns questioning the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) to provide more clarity on its rejection of selected bidder joint venture of Ekemp International Limited, INITS Limited, and Palm Insurance Inc.

The joint venture of the three companies was selected by NEC Procurement Committee to provide biometric equipment and systems to be used for the 2023 voters registration.

But the PPCC headed by former NEC Procurement Director, Attorney Jargbe Roseline Nagbe Kowo has requested that NEC do a re-evaluation of the bids.

In its four-page letter dated September 9, 2022, to the Chairperson of NEC, Davidetta Browne Lansanah, with copies to Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean and Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, the PPCC boss demanded that a re-demonstration of the biometric enrolment and deduplication process be done by the bidders and must be video recorded to serve as a constant reference by the Evaluation Panel during the re-evaluation process, since said demonstration is crucial evaluation determinant as per the NEC’s submissions.

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“This must be done for the NEC to enable the principles of transparency and fairness in review of key performance requirements during its evaluation of the bidders; A video recording is key to showcase proof of moving depictions on the performance of Biometric Equipment and System demonstrated by the bidders”, the PPCC boss emphasizes.

The request by the PPCC for NEC to do a re-evaluation of the bids has left Commissioners at the election house wondering and concerned about what exactly the procurement house wants.

NEC also wonders why the PPCC did not comment on any other bidder’s expertise and/or capacity to pre-finance but concluded its communication with a request that the bidders be called again to do another physical presentation of their respective enrolment and de-duplication processes; that the presentation must be video recorded; and that the NEC must re-evaluate the bidders’ proposals.

“That the NEC should conduct overall evaluation considering mandatory requirements outlaid in its bidding document issued to the bidders, and the NEC must do its utmost to ensure fairness, and transparency of review in consonance with governing procedures”, the PPCC instructed.

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In all there were 6 bidders; Laxton Group limited; The joint venture of Waymark Infotech and Mwenata; Electoral Services International; The joint venture of Ekemp International Limited, INITS Limited, and Palm Insurance Inc.; The joint venture of Professional Services Inc. and HID Global; and Network Solution Liberia Limited.

The companies submitted bids were opened on July 29, 2022, in the presence of the bidders’ representatives and other observers. Information from bidders’ submissions, concerning financial responsiveness, and the capacity to pre-finance, was read out loud and documented on the Bid Opening Checklist, the NEC said.

The public opening of the bids was on July 29, 2022, and a bid evaluation panel comprising five (5) NEC staff was constituted. The Panel worked for about three (3) weeks and on August 26, 2022, submitted its Report to the NEC Procurement Committee.

The Report, signed by all five of the Panel’s members, recommended the joint venture of Ekemp, INITS, and Palm as the most responsive bidder, therefore, requiring NEC to write PPCC requesting a “No Objection” to award the contract to the Joint Venture of Ekemp, INITS, and Palm.  

But PPCC has argued that Ekemp International Limited/INITS Limited/Palm Insurance Inc. Joint Venture Agreement states that Palm Insurance: 3(c) vii: shall provide all pre-financing as may be required for the procurement of materials and services for the effective implementation of the Project, and 2 ( c ) vii: provide all prefinancing in support of the bid process: However, Palm Insurance’s Financial Statement showcasing its financial position, on the contrary, reflects total equity and liabilities of US$2,899,027.00 at the end of 2021 ( December 31, 2021).

NEC Response: “Considering that some vendors, irrespective of the information contained in their financial statements, requested advance payment during the signing of the contract and do not prefinance as a matter of policy, the NEC wishes to inform PPCC that it views the joint pre-finance responsibilities of Ekemp International Limited/INITS Limited/Palm Insurance Inc. in its totality (including their commitment found on Page 2, Count 3 of the cover letter of its submission) as follows:

“3. We confirm that we are capable and able to Pre-finance the supply and delivery of biometric equipment, software & materials for the voter registration for the 2023 general elections….”

“With this, the NEC found that the Joint Venture can prefinance at its level of responsibilities. The three parties in the joint venture are direct service providers and/or original equipment manufacturers, which enables the partners to immediately begin the processes and deliver to the Commission within the timelines required. Moreover, the terms of the contract, as PPCC is aware, will supersede and each member of the joint venture is held individually and severally responsible/liable.”

PPCC Observation 2: “As per NEC’s Bid Evaluation Report, bidders were also evaluated and inspected on key demonstrations of required functionalities and criteria. The PPCC kindly requests videos of the indicated vendors’ demonstrations; and both hard and soft copies of PowerPoint presentations”.    

NEC Response: “The NEC wishes to inform the PPCC that the presentation of vendors was done physically before the Bid Evaluation Panel of which there were only physical demonstrations, no video recording was done, and the Bid Evaluation Panel did not request any PowerPoint presentations be turned over to it. Photos were taken during the presentation and said photos were submitted to the PPCC on September 2, 2022.”

PPCC Observation 3: “That the Joint Venture (JV) Ekemp/Palm Insurance Ltd./INITS Agreement is not notarized”.

NEC Response: “The NEC wishes to inform the PPCC that the standard bidding document did not require bidders to notarize their joint venture agreement.”

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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