Liberia: Procurement Commission Rejects Elections Commission Preferred Company to Supply Electoral Materials; Says The Company Lacks The History, Capacity and Experience to Handle Sensitive Materials

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MONROVIA FrontPageAfrica has obtained documents revealing that the company preferred by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to print and supply ballot and other elections-related materials for the December 8 Senatorial Elections lacks the history, experience and capacity to handle sensitive materials for such a critical election.

However, Mr. Henry Flomo, Communications Director at the NEC, told FronPageAfrica that whatever company that is forwarded to the Public Procurement Concession Commission for approval for awarding of contract, must have met all legal and PPCC requirements and deemed fit for the execution of said contract.

The National Elections Commission wrote the Chief Executive Officer of the PCC, Atty. Jargbe Executive Nagbe Kowo, seeking the approval of the PPCC for the NEC to award contract to Unique Enterprise for the supply and delivery of elections and referendum prepacked materials for the 2020 Special Senatorial Elections.

In response to the NEC’s request, the PPCC CEO wrote, “The Commission, upon review and careful scrutiny of NEC’s submitted documents, the following were observed:

“That the recommended Bidder (Unique Enterprise) from NEC’s submissions is not involved with the Supply and Delivery of Prepacked Elections Materials, but rather the supply of Electrical Equipment (Transformers), and computers, laptops supplies, IT processing equipment, vehicle tracking device as indicated in NEC’s historical submissions. Additionally, the recommended bidder is also involved in management consultancy activities, a contrast of the contract package under review.”

The PPCC added: “The NEC’s recommended bidder Unique Enterprise is a non-complaint and non-responsive to the mandatory requirements set forth in the bidding documents issued by the NEC. The bidding document and the supreme bid data sheet clearly states a key mandatory requirement that was not met…”

Atty. Kowo insisted that Unique Enterprise lacks the requisite experience and technical qualifications to execute such contract package as required by the NEC issued bidding documents, which is also in violation of Section 62(2) of Public Procurement Concession Act.

“The issue of risk and security for Liberia’s 2020 Senatorial Elections resonates highly and for such contract package to be trusted to a vendor without the experience required by the nation’s Election Management Body, the NEC itself, are all paramount concerns that duly cannot be ignored by the PPCC.”

– Atty. Jargbe Executive Nagbe Kowo, CEO, Public Procurement Concession Commission

Section 62(2) of the Act states: “Bids which are not complete, not signed, not accompanied by a bid security in the prescribed form, if one is required, or not accompanied by essential supporting documents such as business registration certificates, business licenses and tax receipts, or are substantially non-responsive to the technical specifications or contract conditions or other critical requirements in the Amended and Restated Public Procurement and Concessions Act 61 bidding documents, shall be rejected and excluded from further evaluation and comparison.”

The PPCC further observations suggest that the National Elections Commission may have ignored that the fact that Unique Enterprise does not have the capacity to produce the sensitive natured elections prepacked materials contract package due to its lack of prior history and experience as required, non-experience on the production of indelible ink, tamper evident security envelopes and other crucial prepackaged election materials as required by the NEC.

“The issue of risk and security for Liberia’s 2020 Senatorial Elections resonates highly and for such contract package to be trusted to a vendor without the experience required by the nation’s Election Management Body, the NEC itself, are all paramount concerns that duly cannot be ignored by the PPCC,” Atty. Kowo stated.

At the same time, the PPCC noted that irrespective of the 2020 senatorial election fast approaching, the NEC was yet to present the ballot papers request for no-objection for prior review as required, stating that it “sincerely hopes that the NEC would improve the execution of time-bound elections procurement for future elections given the many reminders and the many latitudes the PPCC has routinely issued.”

The PPCC then advised the electoral body to avoid the risk and uncertainty for a paramount sensitive and crucial national electoral procurement, the NEC should consider taking immediate steps to sole source a company from its list of qualified prepacked elections and similar sensitive elections polling material suppliers in its database, so as to execute the contract package.

Unique Enterprise Profile

According to the company’s profile, it is a consulting and logistics management company in Monrovia and a subsidiary of Unique Enterprise Group of Companies which comprise Unique Enterprise, UE Mining and UE Security Solutions, UE General Logistics and an affiliate of Unique Enterprise LLC in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

The company’s history of work in Liberia has been the supply and delivery of electrical supplies to the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).

The company also prides itself with establishing the first Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) Center in Monrovia and is currently managing the implementation of the GMAT Africa Career Track Program in Liberia in 2015.

In a reference letter to the NEC, TCM Engineering Services stated that it can vouch for the Unique Enterprise’s material supply capacity.

According to TCM Engineering Services Inc., it was awarded a contract by the LPRC in October 2017 to supply equipment and materials and construct 1km of 22kv underground distribution feeder to supply its new Fuel Unloading Facility (FUF).

“For this project, TCM Engineering Services Inc. Contracted Unique Enterprise for the supply of 2×630 kva/415v, 50 Hz power distribution transformers. These brands new and intact transformers were supplied within the timeframe stipulated in the supply contract with Unique Enterprise. These transformers are today in operation at the LPRC,” the reference letter stated.

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