MONROVIA – The long search for the preferred bidder for the biometric voters registration contract by the National Elections Commission (NEC) finally came to an end yesterday, Thursday, November 24, 2022 when the Public Procurement and Concession Commission(PPCC) granted the “No Objection” request from the National Election Commission(NEC) after the electoral body evaluated and selected Laxton Group from among the other four bidders as the eventual winner of the contract and had sought PPCC consent on the choice it made with respect to the BVR contract.
In a communication addressed to the Chairperson of NEC, Madam Davidetta Brown –Lassanah, and signed by Atty Roseline Nagbe Kowo, Executive Director of the PPCC, acknowledged receipt of the communication from NEC and the accompanying documents on November 22, 2022, which sought the approval of PPCC for NEC to award the contract to LAXTON GROUP, in the amount of USD11,956,834.32 for the supply and delivery of Biometric Voter Registration Equipment, Software and material for the 2033 presidential and legislative elections.
PPCC said upon receipt of the communication it was made known to the agency, among others, that the NEC submitted the hard copies of cover letter, inter office memo to bid evaluation panel, re-evaluation report, procurement committee minutes, draft contract and query clarifications, that NEC as per its re-evaluation report reviewed the remaining four bidders: Electoral Services International (ESI), Waymark/Mwetana, Laxton Group and Professional Services /HID Global and that the NEC’s revaluation report states that EIS, Laxton Group, Waymark/Mwetena were responsive to these re-demonstration requirements: data entry, printing of cards, deduplication,software flexibility(GUI) and indicated that Professional Services/HID.was not responsive to the deduplication.
“That the NEC deemed Laxton Group as the responsive bidder upon its review of the remaining bidders, considering responsiveness to the re-demonstration, capacity to pre-finance, accessibility of supplier, and responsiveness to other indicated requirements in the bid, etc.
“That the NEC submitted a draft contract reflecting proposed timelines and timeframes for procurement deliverables for the supply and delivery of the Biometric Equipment, Software and materials
“That the PPCC subsequently, upon receipt of NEC’s request, queried the NEC on its recommended bidder Laxton Group proposed delivery period and its alignment with the NEC’s new/adjusted proposed timeframe for delivery of the Biometric equipment. Software and materials indicated in its submissions; and the NEC subsequently on November 23, 2022 provided information and clarifications on the issued query”, the communication stated.
The communication further stated that the PPCC, upon overall review of NEC’s submission, accompanying documents and subsequent clarifications, took the decision to grant the “no objection” request as well as brought to the notice some actions that NEC should take moving forward.
“That “No Objection” is hereby rendered for the NEC to award contract to LAXTON GROUP in the amount of USD11, 956,834.32 for the supply and delivery of biometric voter registration equipment, software and materials for the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections
“That the NEC is to ensure quality conformance for this contract package, given its critical nature and given that this is the 1st Biometric Voter Registration Pilot for Liberia;
“That the NEC is advised to submit a copy of the final contract to the PPCC for validity and reporting, as required by the PPCA
“That the NEC is advised to submit a copy of the final contract to the PPCC for validity and reporting, as required by the PPCA, the communication stated.
“The Public Procurement and Concessions Commission admonishes and deems it a priority that you remain primarily in compliance with the PPCA, 2010, as we jointly aspire to achieve Transparency, Accountability, Value for money and ultimately public confidence in Liberia’s public procurement and concessions processes”, the communication concluded.
It can be recalled that there has been an unending back-and-forth communication between the two integrity institutions in the wake of the selection of one of the bidders, EKEMP, during the first round of the bidding process where PPCC objected to NEC selection and ordered a rerun of the entire process to include video recording and submission of USB drive.
At the second round, EKEMP was again selected but PPCC for the second time objected to the choice, citing the failure of EKEMP to print an enrolled card during a specific period allotted and insisted that NEC should pick from among the other contenders as the alternative preferred bidder.
With the final decision taken and the time is fast ticking away with respect to the proposed December 15, 2022 take off of the biometric enrolment for voters against the 2023 elections, it is not yet clear when the Laxton Group will swing into action to start the preparatory work towards the exercise.