IEBC’s 2022 elections plans paralysed as tribunal nullifies ballot papers’ tender
The Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) is now at a crisis in its preparations for the 2022 elections after a tribunal nullified the award of a Sh2.8 billion ballot papers contract to a Greek firm.
In a final decision by Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) led by the chairperson Faith Waigwa dated November 17, 2021, the board set aside the electoral commission recommendation to award to the multinational firm, Inform Lykos (HELLAS) S.A the tender for the supply and delivery of ballot papers and election result forms.
"The first respondent (Accounting Chief Executive Officer of IEBC) Letter of Award dated October 14, 2021 in tender No. IEBC/OIT/002/2021/2022 for supply and delivery of ballot papers; Register of Voters; Statutory Election Results Declaration Forms to be used at the Constituency, County and National Tallying centers on a Framework Contract for a period of three years issued to the first interested party (Inform Lykos (HELLAS) S.A) be and is hereby nullified and set aside," the board ordered.
The board nullified the tender award to the Greek firm noting that due diligence was not done in the process of the award of the multi-billion tender for supply of ballot papers by IEBC.
"Bearing in mind the importance of the subject tender and procurement process and national interest of the tender carries, it is important before award of the subject tender, a due diligence exercise must be conducted strictly in accordance with the provisions of section 84 of the Act," the Board ruled
The new development by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board comes after Shailesh Patel T/A Africa Infrastructure Development Company made an application for a review on how the tender was awarded to the Greek firm.
Last month, the electoral agency had awarded Inform Lykos (HELLAS) S.A the tender after it beat 12 other firms to emerge as the lowest bidder.
In the application to the board, the complainant ( Africa Infrastructure Development Company) claimed the award to Inform Lykos was unlawful and did not meet requirements of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.
However, the board in its decision has further nullified and set aside IEBC accounting officer notification of intention to award transmitted on October 14, 2021 for supply of ballot papers issued to the second applicant in the matter a Dubai-based firm namely Al Ghurair Printing and publishing and all other unsuccessful tenders.
The board however has ordered IEBC to direct the evaluation committee to re-admit the Al Ghurair Printing and publishing's tender at the financial evaluation and conduct a re-evaluation of the firms' tender together with tenders that made it to the financial evaluation stage, at the financial evaluation stage in accordance with the provision of the tender document, the regulation 2020,the act and the constitution taking into account the boards finding in this consolidated request review.
While issuing the orders, the board observed that from the Evaluation Report signed by all members of the evaluation committee at IEBC on September 28,2021, the committee recommended for due diligence to be carried out before award of the tender .
"In the minutes of tender evaluation of the subject matter that started on September 16,2021, due diligence was conducted on most responsive tenders by the evaluation committee but no due diligence report was availed by the IEBC on the same," the board states.
The tribunal also held that Shailesh Patel T/A Africa Infrastructure Development Company was disqualified from financial criteria unfairly and or based on criterion that was not set out in the respondents' (IEBC) tender document.
According to Shailesh Patel T/A Africa Infrastructure Development Company, the respondents, listed as the Accounting Chief Executive Officer of IEBC, IEBC and Inform Lykos, contravened Article 227 (1) of the Constitution by conducting the procurement in a manner that was unfair and uncompetitive.
The applicant also contends that the respondents contravened section 60 (10) of the public procurement law by failing to prepare clear and specific requirements relating to 40 per cent local content in the tender.
“The respondents have contravened section 67 (1) (d) of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act by disclosing the contents of unsuccessful bidders’ tenders to third party bidders through the letters of notification dated October 14, 2021,” the applicants argued.
Further, the applicant is aggrieved by the respondents’ failure to comply with the obligations under procurement law and the Constitution.
Last month the commission led by Wafula Chebukati, following an evaluation process, settled on Greece-based Inform Lykos (HELLAS) S.A at 7,172,850 Euros (about Sh925 million) at the exchange rate of Sh129.
Inform Lykos is located in Koropi, Greece and is part of the Printing and Related Support Activities Industry.
The Greek firm won the tender on October 14, beating twelve other firms including Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing LLC, which had the 2017 deal.
Al Ghurair printing and publishing company which was awarded the tender for 2017 general elections was denied business on the basis that it didn't meet the 40 per cent local content threshold.