Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) has ordered the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) to engage independent evaluators in the procurement of ICT equipment for automated transfer system and flexcube system.
The PPDA order follows an appeal by Sparc Systems Limited, a Malawi’s Leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) firm on November 26 2020, on the decision by the head of the procuring entity of the central bank to award a contract to Mitra Systems.
“The Reserve Bank of Malawi should be advised to engage independent evaluators for this procurement. The tender should be published at a reduced period of 21 days,” reads a letter dated March 12 2021 signed by PPDA acting director general Timothy Kalembo addressed to RBM and Sparc Systems Limited.
In May 2020, RBM invited bids for the supply and delivery of ICT hardware for flexcube upgrade and ICT hardware for automated transfer system (ATS). In November, it published an intention to award contracts on both bids to Mitra Systems.
Sparc Systems Limited appealed the decision by RBM and asked the central bank to furnish it with an evaluation report of the bid evaluators, minutes of the meetings of the RBM’s internal procurement and disposal committee and all correspondence with the PPDA relating to the procurement, including the letter of no objection.
In a letter which followed an administrative hearing of the matter, the PPDA indicated that RBM responded that it was not allowed to disclose information relating to the examination, clarification, evaluation, comparison of bids and recommendations and approval made on particular tender.
“The grounds were that the applicant [Sparc Systems Limited] did not fulfill the requirement as presented in Section 3 of the bidding document. The applicant did not submit manufacturer’s authorisation from Dell,” reads the letter.
It further reads that RBM argued that Sparc Systems in its bids proposed to supply and deliver IBM, Dell EMC storage and kemp load balancer but submitted manufacturer’s authorisation from IBM only.
RBM further argued that Sparc System bid was considered incomplete as specification for Cisco switches were not included and therefore not priced.
“Therefore, the applicant’s bid could not be considered the lowest as it did not include the cost of Cisco switches and a laptop,” reads the letter.
But during the review meeting, which included officials from PPDA, Sparc, RBM and others, Sparc Systems claimed that it was responsive to all the criteria in the bidding document, and was therefore not in agreement with RBM that they did not qualify at eligibility stage.
Sparc also queried the inconsistency in RBM submission in that it indicated they did not qualify at eligibility stage yet in its submission it talked of lack of technical specification on Cisco, Lenovo and laptop which was on technical phase and therefore wondered how they had progressed to technical phase of the evaluation of it really they did not qualify at the eligibility stage.