Controversy in tender process
The tender process for the purchase of 420 buses for the transport modernization project, Transmovil, started on Thursday, as three comp...
The tender process for the purchase of 420 buses for the transport modernization project, Transmovil, started on Thursday, as three companies competed for the contract.
But one of them received special attention and extra flexibility from the government authorities, leading the other two to raise complaints.
Higer Bus Company Limited, Volvo CDM and Consorcio Grupo Q were the companies submitting offers. Higer, a Chinese company, offered the cheapest price, at $51.1 million. Volvo offered $76 million, and Grupo Q offered $79 million.
But the Volvo representative complained that even though Higer made the lowest bid, authorities allowed the company to participate in the tender process even though the company did not comply with some of the requirements for participants.
Higer was allowed to correct mistakes in the numbering of the public act and the amount of the required deposit with the insurer, and was given 48 hours to obtain three missing signatures from public institutions.
A Volvo representative made it clear from the beginning, when the mistake in the numbering of the public act was revealed, that he was unhappy, because one mistake was enough for the company to be disqualified.
Similarly, Volvo’s lawyer, Elbert Lopez, jumped from his seat when government officials were putting a checkmark next to owning a maintenance facility in Panama, as he claimed out loud that the allegation was completely false.
According to Lopez, Higer does not own a maintenance facility, and it should be sued by the Public Ministry for lying in its offer.
As the tender process continued, further missing requirement like the manufacturer’s warranty were also overlooked.
“It is better if he mentions what he does have“!” Yelled Jose Ivaldi, representing Berings Motor, aroused by the suspicious preference for the company.
Berings Motor did not participate in the bidding process because, complaining that the government had not offered enough time to comply with all of the requirements.
Despite the clear mistakes, the Transit and Terrestrial Transport Authority (ATT) gave Higer 48 days to make the necessary corrections, raising suspicions in the audience, and leading Elbert Lopez, Volvo’s lawyer, to demand an investigation.
Initially, 37 companies were interested in the bid.
However, only four companies attended the tender process, and Zhenghou Yutong was disqualified because of a failure in the required insurance deposit.