The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (Cdedi) has said the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should institute a probe into the manner Southern Region Water Board (SRWB) awarded a contract to a bid that is K1.6 billion higher than the lowest bidder.
During a press briefing in Lilongwe yesterday, Cdedi executive director Sylvester Namiwa said such a procurement raises eyebrows and deserves a thorough investigation to establish what led to the choice of the contractor
He said: “It is difficult to understand the mechanism used in the choice of the contractor, given all factors in the tender process, one would expect the tender to be awarded to the lowest bidder but the opposite happened.”
According to Namiwa, taxpayers are duty bound to demand SRWB to reconsider its decision and save K1.6 billion.
“Cdedi is asking the Anti- Corruption Bureau to zero in and investigate the whole procurement process at SRWB, since it looks very suspicious,” also reads a statement from the organisation.
As reported by our sister paper The Nation on Friday, both the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act and the bidding document for the tender in question indicate that preference would be given to the lowest evaluated bidder.
The evaluation report on the bids shows that the lowest bidder “passed” both preliminary examination and detailed technical evaluation but could not be picked purportedly because the pricing showed lack of understanding of the “technicalities and complexities” of the project.
In June this year, SRWB advertised a tender for detailed designs and construction works for the extension of Mangochi Potable Water Supply Project funded by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
A total of 14 companies bought the bid but only four submitted their proposals.
Jiangsu Suzhong Construction Group Company Limited made a bid of $16.3 million, Alghanim Plem quoted $14.4 million, Sawa Group/Metito joint venture priced its bid at $21.7 million and Kuwait Dynamic Limited/Fisd partnership offered $12.3 million.
A procurement specialist Amos Nyambo has since faulted the justification of the evaluation.
“If the bidder reaches financial stage it means they have done well on preliminary evaluation and technical/detailed examination.
“At technical level, issues of competence and experience are looked at. So, when you proceed to financial evaluation it means technically you are fine hence, to raise technical issues at the financial stage is quite unusual,” Nyambo told The Nation.
Namiwa said if a probe into the matter is not instituted, then Malawians should brace for more shoddy deals under the Tonse Alliance government.