Flawed tender challenged

One of the companies that bid for the supply, delivery, installation, testing and commissioning of a Zambia Air Traffic Management Surveillance Radar System (ZATM-RADAR) Indra Sistemas S.A has protested the awarding of the multimillion tender to Thales ATM (Pty) Limited of  South Africa saying the tender was flawed.

Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) officials told the Daily Nation that on 18th October 2013, Indra Company of Spain wrote to the director general and copied the letter to the Permanent Secretary ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication and the National Airport Corporation Limited expressing their displeasure in the manner the tender was awarded.

The officials said that Indra Sistemas, S.A was shocked at the award of the tender to Thales ATM System, after meeting all the terms, conditions, specifications of the bidding documents without material deviation, reservation or omission and the bid submitted with the lowest price for the shortlisted bidders.

And according to the letter of appeal addressed to director general of ZPPA, Indra has submitted that the process engaged to select Thales Air System S.A at a bid sum of Euro 13, 513,536.00 was procedurally flawed and negatively disadvantaged the appellant (Indra) and other bidders.

Indra management stated that the flawed procedure used by ZPPA’s tender committee of change in price without notifying other bidders, was unacceptable as it favoured Thales ATM System.

“It has come to our attention that the successful bidder had failed and or neglected to include the contingency of ten percent on the pricing, the inclusion of which was mandatory. It has now become apparent at the time of bid opening, the now successful bidder had quoted Euro 12, 285, 330, 00. This amount has since been inflated to Euro 13, 513, 536, 00,” the protest letter obtained by the Daily Nation yesterday stated.

Indra also argued that by allowing Thales Air System S.A to vary the bid price upwards, against the conditions provided in section 3 and 4 of the bid document revealed the unfair treatment in that other bidders were not accorded any opportunity to vary or include any portion of the bid document that was found unappealing.

“This alone and by itself shows that the bidders were not treated equally. If the appellant (Indra) was allowed to vary    the areas of concern raised would have done so and still be lower in pricing than the successful bidder. It is thus our considered view that if the same opportunity to vary was availed to Indra, the company would have succeeded.

We further note that all bids were valid for a period of 90 days from the date of the bidding. At the time of consideration for the bids or indeed the date of communication of success or failure of the bids, all bids had since expired. In this vain, allowing Thales Air System S.A to extend validity should have been extended to all the bidders,” the company said