November 9, 2015
By Dawit Endeshaw
Yet another bidding process in dispute; this time over PPPDS’ handling of tender process.
A 34.3 million dollar technology contract between the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service (PPPDS) on behalf of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA) and a US company, has been suspended by a Federal High Court order following a complaint by a Chinese company that was bidding for the contract.PPPDS was handling the tender process for INSA, which wanted to procure Digital Video Broadcasting Second Generation Terrestrial (DVB-T2) Network Rollout solutions. There was a minimum precondition for bidders that the purchase should be on a vendor financing basis, where competent bidders would bring partners who would facilitate the credit service with a minimum repayment schedule of 10 years.
The overall purchase was divided in two lots; for the procurement of system, subsystem, equipment & goods and the remaining and, for the supply of signal measurement & monitoring systems. Nine bidders came forward in June 2015, four of which made it through the technical evaluation. Three of them offered for Lot One, consisting of installing the infrastructure that would serve the implementation of the system, and one bid for Lot Two to supply the measurement & monitoring systems. The sole bidder for Lot Two, Giga Communication Ltd. from the UK, got its contract worth 214.7 million Br uncontested. However, the award of the contract for Lot One to GatesAir, an American company known for its work on over-the-air analog and digital radio/TV stations and networks worldwide, which was said to have offered the lowest price of 34.3 million dollars, was not pleasing to Star Software Technology, a Chinese company, which took its case to court.
In its civil suit filed at the Federal High Court’s First Civil Bench, Star Software Technology claimed that it had offered the lowest price and proposed competitive terms of repayment. The Bench then suspended the contract from November 5, 2015, coinciding with the scheduled contract signing, until December 1, 2015.
The claim by the Chinese company mainly revolved around the loan and its respective offer, said Yigezu Daba, director general of PPPDS, while declining to discuss the issue further, saying it is now up to the court.
Lot Two bidder, Giga, is a subsidiary of Ultra Electronics Group, which boasts of “a portfolio of specialist capabilities, generating highly-differentiated solutions and products in the defence and aerospace, security and cyber, transport and energy markets, by applying electronic and software technologies in demanding and critical environments to meet customer needs.” Its clientele includes such media institutions as BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera, according to its website.
The procurement was meant to transform the current analog based television broadcasting systems into digital systems. The purchase was intended to be made while attached with credit schemes where each bidders was obliged to come up with a third party that would facilitate a loan for the purchase.
Established under a mandate of strategic and framework purchase, the service in the past four months has conducted three billion Br worth of purchases. From this, one billion Br was dedicated to the purchase of wheat, 873 million Br for construction and 935.6 million Br for the purchase of iron bars.