Liberia: Waymark Infotech/MWETANA Challenges Elections Commission Over Biometric Bid


Monrovia – The management of Waymark Infotech/MWETANA has filed a Bid Challenge Notification against the National Elections Commission (NEC) over the selection of LAXTON GROUP as the “most responsive vendor” for a contract the pair and other companies bidded.

In its Bid Challenge Notification, Waymark Infotech clarified that it presented offer and demonstrated twice to the NEC on 09 August 2022 and 07 October 2022 respectively as the best vendor for the bid.

By: Selma Lomax

The company said it was bewildered by the decision of the NEC and its Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansanah, to have selected LAXTON GROUP as the “most responsive vendor” for the contract, despite the reported failure of LAXTON to meet up with the NEC’s requirements, adding that such decision violates section 65(1) of the Public Procurement and Concession Act.

“The Waymark Infotech/MWETANA Joint Venture submitted a bid response for the ICB No: NEC/VRPLE/ICB/001/2022 issued by the National Elections Commission (NEC) on 29 July 2022 and subsequently presented its offer and demonstrated twice to the NEC on 09 August 2022 and 07 October 2022 respectively,” the bid challenge notification states.

“In accordance with our rights under Section 125(1) of the Public Procurement and Concessions Act (PPCA), we are hereby challenging NEC’s selection of Laxton Group (Laxton) as the most responsive vendor,” the company said. 

It says section 62(4) of the PPCA requires NEC to evaluate its bid in accordance with the criteria and methodology stated in the bidding documents. 

Section 65(1) of the PPCA further demands the NEC to award the contract to the bidder that is qualified and submitted the lowest responsive bid, a requirement Waymark met fully, FrontPageAfrica has gathered.

Based on record of the opening of the bids, Waymark/MWETANA’s bid, which was US$11,256,929.25, was the lowest of all the bidders and approximately US$700,000.00 lower than the other two bidders NEC deemed to be responsive following the redemonstration, Laxton Group – $11,956,834.32 and ESI – $11,971,969.00, FrontPageAfrica has gathered.

The company accused the NEC of failing to comply with these statutory requirements when it refused to award the contract to Waymark Infotech/MWETANA.

“Based on the PPCC’s November 22, 2022, response to NEC’s request for PPCC to approve the awarding of the contract to the Laxton Group (see The Analyst dated November 25, 2022), NEC’s Re-Evaluation Report stated that Waymark/MWETANA was one of the three companies who NEC deemed responsive following the 07 October 2022 redemonstration,” Waymark stated in its bid challenge notification. 

“Our bid documents and the video evidence of the redemonstration prove that Waymark/MWETANA satisfied all the evaluation and qualification criteria contained in Section III of the bidding documents,” it continued.

“Considering NEC rightly deemed our bid to be responsive and our bid price is roughly US$700,000.00 lower than the other two bidders, NEC had a statutory obligation, in keeping with the above referenced Section 65(1) of the PPCA, to award the contract to Waymark/MWETANA since we met all the qualification requirements and we were the lowest responsive bidder,” the notification states.

“Furthermore, ITB 11.1 and Section III of the bidding document required bidders to submit audited financial statements for the past two years to show an ability to pre-finance the contract. Although Waymark/MWETANA duly complied with this key requirement, by the NEC’s Chairperson own admission at a press conference on October 25, 2022, Laxton failed to provide the required audited financial statements,” said the company. 

During that press conference, the NEC Chairperson mentioned that Laxton only provided financial statements for the fiscal years 2020 and 2019 and she added that Laxton’s financial statements were not even audited. 

Section 62(9) of the PPCA states that if a bid “contains material deviations from or reservations to the terms, conditions and specifications in the bidding documents, [the bid] shall not be considered further.

Considering Laxton’s apparent material breach of the bidding requirements, NEC violated the PPCA by not only continuing to consider Laxton, but also deciding to ultimately deem Laxton to be the most responsive bidder, according to Waymark Infotech.  

Waymark also accused Laxton of failing to meet one of the most stringent technical requirements in the bidding document which was the use of tablets.

Waymark Infotech said in the notification that the above-mentioned reasons were enough to contend that NEC violated the PPCA and the bidding documents when it concluded that Laxton was the most responsive bidder.

Up to press time, efforts by FrontPageAfrica to contact authority of the NEC for response proved futile.