PPCC fails to address concerns
The National Elections Commission (NEC) says the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) failed to address its concern in a September 13 letter addressed to the PPCC, this paper has learned.
The NEC had asked the PPCC to provide clarity on its requested scope of the re-demonstration and re-evaluation of bidders while expressing fears that the procurement process delays could affect voter registration timeline.
Despite raising series of questions for clarity in its September 13, 2022, response to PPCC’s denial of a “no objection” request, the PPCC in its September 20, 2022, reply maintains that the electoral body takes prompt action to ensure adherence to its initial mandate to facilitate further expeditious and wholesome review of the procurement process.
NEC had raised multiple questions asking the procurement house to provide clarity on its request for re-evaluation of bidders.
NEC had asked among other things if it is the position of the PPCC that its 9 September statement on the expertise and pre-finance capacity of the joint venture of Ekemp, INITS, and Palm disqualifies this bidder from further consideration.
“If the answer is “yes”, should this bidder be invited to redo its enrollment and de-duplication processes as requested in the PPCC’s September 9th communication to the NEC?” the NEC asked.
It continued that the Bid Evaluation Panel’s report, submitted to the PPCC on August 30, 2022, informed that three bidders were unresponsive to the pre-finance requirement.
Thus, the NEC asked if it is the position of the PPCC that these bidders be invited to redo their enrolment and de-duplication processes.
Bidders, NEC explained, during their respective presentations of the enrolment/ registration process, were required to start and complete their enrolment and deduplication processes using one of NEC staff.
Out of the five bidders, it continued, two were unable to complete the enrolment and did not print cards on the spot, as required in the standard bidding document.
The NEC, therefore, asked the PPCC if it is in its position that the two bidders be given another opportunity to cure whatever defects or unresponsiveness they had in their submission and/or previous physical presentation.
If so, the NEC wondered, if it would be fair to the other bidders who were responsive during the previous physical presentation.
But the PPCC in a reply spotted by this paper maintained the electoral body carry out a re-evaluation of the bid with video-recorded demonstration of the physical presentations.
“That NEC should note keenly that the PPCC’s role under its prior review obligations and mandates as prescribed by law is to authenticate that the bidding process conducted is done in line with applicable procedures, fairly and transparently and that all bidders are treated equitably in terms of review as scrutiny of offers,” excerpts of the PPCC statement read.
Sources close to the Electoral Commission (NEC) said the election house is now considering inviting all bidders to re-demonstrate as requested by the PPCC since it is the regulatory body for procurement processes.
However, sources say delays in the procurement process could affect the timeline for the 15 December 2022 date set for the start of voter registration.
The NEC insisted that providing clarity on the requested scope of the re-demonstration and re-evaluation would have enhanced transparency, fairness, and accountability in the procurement process.
The NEC and the PPCC have in the past been engaged in an exchange of communications following the electoral body’s plan introduction of biometric voter registration cards ahead of Liberia’s 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
Recently the NEC requested the PPCC’s approval to award the joint venture of Ekemp International Limited, INITS Limited, and Palm Insurance Inc. a contract to provide the software and equipment for the biometric voters’ registration exercise.
In response, the PPCC instructed the NEC to do a re-evaluation of the bid before a video camera for reference.