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 IEC IGNORING GPPA ADVICE,WHY?
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 23 Oct 2020 :  23:14:13  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
SNIPPET FROM CURRENT TOPIC:
"But the IT and procurement officer at the IEC said “none of the bidders met these criteria.”

HISTORICAL RELATED TOPIC:
https://www.gambia.dk/forums/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=9575&SearchTerms=id+cards

==========

https://standard.gm/iec-accused-of-ignoring-gppa-advice-over-voter-material-contract/

October 23, 2020 By Omar Bah


The Independent Electoral Commission is reportedly intending to go against the Gambia Public Procurement Authority’s advice to contract a Canadian company with the supply of electoral materials and issuance of the country’s voter’s cards.

The Electoral Service International company, reportedly picked by the IEC for the issuance of the country’s biometric voter’s cards, has been supplying electoral materials and issuing voter’s cards for the past years.

The company’s parent body had started business with the IEC in 1996. The company later went into bankruptcy. It re-emerged with a new name ESI.

ESI was competing with Dermalog, a German company,

Ekemp International, a Chinese Company and Smart Business Group, a Gambian owned company.

According to our source very close to the GPPA, the Electoral Commission is adamant to contract next year’s voter registration and supply of election materials to ESI despite advice by the GPPA to consider Dermalog.

“The GPPA has made it emphatically clear to the IEC that ESI wasn’t the most responsive company that could execute the IEC election materials supply contract. This followed the IEC’s recommendation for the Canadian company to be awarded the $3million contract,” an anonymous source told The Standard.

“IEC has always been doing this process single-handedly without involving GPPA and they are the only procuring authority that oversees all government public procurements”.

According to our source, the GPPA has written to the IEC to reevaluate and justify as to why they thought that ESI was the most responsive bidder. “GPPA wants to know why the IEC has decided to choose ESI to execute the contract”.

The GPPA is responsible for ensuring a transparent, efficient and economic public procurement, providing a fair opportunity to all prospective suppliers by preventing fraud, corruption and other malpractices in public procurement.

Reacting to the allegations, the IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai said: “The IEC Act protects and empowers the commission to ensure that it is free from control or influence of either the president or the authorities”.

However, Njai continued: “Despite that, we feel because this is a major issue, we should make the offer on public tender in accordance with the GPPA regulations. We had four bidders and on the bid day, all of them sent in representatives and we invited the GPPA as well. We opened all the biddings and went through the process in accordance with the rules and regulations. We had a committee to address the issue. This committee met and went through all the tenders and selected ESI”.

The IEC chairman added: “I don’t want to go through the process detailing what the other bidders’ shortcomings were but as professionals, when it comes to election materials, we came to the conclusion that because of the situation of time between when we need these materials and the tender opening, awarding ESI was the safest for us to go with because they fulfilled all the conditions. None of the other companies has proven to us that they were involved in the supply of electoral materials and we didn’t want to go into the process of giving a tender to someone that we are not satisfied with and ESI from day one has been supplying the IEC with all the materials. Personally, I would have loved to see another company contracted because you cannot stick with one company all the time. You need to change but to change you must be satisfied that the one you are moving to is better than the one you know and that was not the case. This is why we decided to stick with ESI.”

Chairman Njai said with the experience they have with ESI over the past years, they have “no reason to doubt the company”.

The IEC Chief Electoral Officer, Samboujang Njie said despite the fact that the electoral commission feels ESI “is the best out of the rest, they are still consulting and have not finalised signing the contract with ESI just yet, contrary to claims in some quarters.”

He said the company the GPPA was leaning towards had the most expensive offer with some 3 million euros which is far beyond the IEC’s budget.



Jammeh’s company

He said it is absolutely wrong for anyone to claim that ESI was identified by Yahya Jammeh to supply and issue the country’s voters’ cards. Njie said Jammeh had never interfered with procurement matters at the IEC.

The selection process was based on four criteria; technical specification, individual firm experience, similar past experience on registration and pricing.

But the IT and procurement officer at the IEC said “none of the bidders met these criteria.”

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 27 Oct 2020 :  17:28:02  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
https://standard.gm/gppa-warns-iec-against-awarding-contract-without-approval/



By Omar Bah on October 27, 2020

The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) has warned that the Independent Electoral Commission’s plan to go against its advice to contract a Canadian company with the supply of electoral materials and issuance of voter’s cards will be ‘illegal’ and a complete disregard of the procurement Act.

The Electoral Commission is adamant to contract next year’s voter registration and supply of election materials to Electoral Service International (ESI) despite GPPA’s refusal to approve the proposal.

ESI was competing with Dermalog, a German company, Ekemp International, a Chinese company and Smart Business Group, a Gambian company.

The IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai last week told The Standard the IEC Act protects and empowers the commission to ensure that it is free from control or influence of either the president or the authorities.

“Despite that, we feel because this is a major issue, we should make the offer on public tender in accordance with the GPPA regulations,” Njai said.

But speaking on the matter for the first time, the GPPA director general Saloum Malang, said the IEC “is not exempted from coming to the GPPA to seek approvals”.

“Section 20 of the GPPA Act clearly categorises procurements that are exempted from the GPPA and the IEC doesn’t fall under that category. Expenditure of public funds must go through GPPA,” DG Malang said, adding that the only exemption is the military and that is when weapons or other security-related equipment are acquired.

He said section 12 of the Act clearly indicates that procuring organisations must not engage in procurements above the amount specified in the regulations without obtaining the approval of the authority at every stage of the procurement.

“The IEC knows that very well because from records, they did 20 submissions to GPPA and six out of those 20 were election related,” he said. He added that the IEC must not go ahead with the contract without the GPPA’s approval.

Explaining what led to the impasse, DG Malang said: “The IEC had first submitted their request for bidding which the GPPA looked at and approved as the first stage. From there, they did their bidding document and tender which we attended and everything was in order. It was when they submitted their evaluation to us for review that we realised that there was some very relevant information missing. We wrote to the IEC officially, outlining all our concerns and asked them to forward us further information on the technical specification and the terms of reference because the evaluation committee was completely silent on the terms of reference.”

DG Malang said standard procedure provides that bidding documents should provide terms of reference which will include all aspects of the contract.

“We want to avoid a situation where we will approve a contract with one of the bidders who didn’t specify the terms of reference. If that happens, there could be a source of variation and you don’t want to go through variation. For example, if you went to a certain stage of the contract and you want the contractor to do certain things that are not specified in the contract, they may demand for extra money. So this is what we want to avoid,” he explained.

He said the GPPA has “not necessarily questioned IEC’s decision to choose ESI. All we demanded is further information about the company particularly its experience, the people working for the company and tax compliance. We want them to explain why they think ESI is more competent than the rest. But instead of responding to our queries, they (IEC) wrote us back a letter to say they have maintained their decision of awarding the contract to ESI, and that the IEC Act has given them the immunity not to be controlled by any authority. We also wrote back to inform them that we were also not going to approve,” he said.

The GPPA boss concluded: “If IEC knew they were immune, why did they submit for approval at the GPPA in the first place? They expected us to approve just like that. But I want to assure Gambians that the GPPA is not a rubberstamp. The other bidders who paid D50, 000 bidding fees to the IEC deserve to know why their bids were not accepted. Until the IEC clears our doubts, we will not approve the proposal. It is a concern that the GPPA is a tooth-less bulldog when it comes to enforcement. We don’t have that punitive power and that is one of the weaknesses we are engaging the authorities to see how we go around it.”

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2020 :  22:40:40  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

RELATED TOPIC:
https://www.gambia.dk/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=17257



https://standard.gm/auditor-general-intervenes-in-iec-election-materials-saga/




By Omar Bah November 27, 2020

The Auditor General has convened a meeting between the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to discuss the contentions regarding the contract for the purchase of election materials.

The Electoral Commission wants to award the contract for the procurement of election materials to Electoral Service International (ESI) despite GPPA’s refusal to grant approval.

ESI is competing with a German company Dermalog, a Chinese company Ekemp International, and the Gambian Smart Business Group.

GPPA has since warned that the IEC’s plan to go against its advice to contract the Canadian company with the supply of election material a will be “illegal” and a contravention of the Procurement Act.

Consequently, the auditor general on Tuesday invited both parties to a meeting in an attempt to address the issue.

“It is true that the auditor general invited the GPPA DG to a meeting with the IEC on Tuesday,” a source at GPPA told this newspaper.

The source said during the meeting, the GPPA boss was adamant that he was not going to approve the contract if the IEC fails to submit the required information requested by his office.

The GPPA has demanded that the IEC provides them with the credentials of the staff working with the Canadian company among other things.

According to the source, the IEC has finally submitted some information about the company to the GPPA for their review and final recommendations.

“It is now up to the GPPA to decide whether the IEC should go ahead with the contract or not. The GPPA will complete the review by Friday (today). The GPPA boss had also made it clear to the Auditor General that his office has nothing against the IEC,” the source said.

When contacted for comment, IEC Chairman Alieu Momarr Njai confirmed the meeting but he was quick to stress that the commission still maintained its prerogative to award the contract to the Canadian company.

“Irrespective of what happens next, we will have to buy the materials because without the materials there will be no voter registration or election. But we are hopeful that we will come to an agreement,” he said.

A source at the Auditor General’s Office confirmed the meeting but wouldn’t comment any further.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 27 Nov 2020 22:44:14
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2020 :  14:48:57  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

++++++++++
Time is running out without a FINAL decision being made to resolve this sago the timeline will be stalled who will benefit by that.?

++++++++++


https://standard.gm/auditor-general-intervenes-in-iec-election-materials-saga/



By Omar Bah on November 27, 2020

The Auditor General has convened a meeting between the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to discuss the contentions regarding the contract for the purchase of election materials.

The Electoral Commission wants to award the contract for the procurement of election materials to Electoral Service International (ESI) despite GPPA’s refusal to grant approval.

ESI is competing with a German company Dermalog, a Chinese company Ekemp International, and the Gambian Smart Business Group.

GPPA has since warned that the IEC’s plan to go against its advice to contract the Canadian company with the supply of election material a will be “illegal” and a contravention of the Procurement Act.

Consequently, the auditor general on Tuesday invited both parties to a meeting in an attempt to address the issue.

“It is true that the auditor general invited the GPPA DG to a meeting with the IEC on Tuesday,” a source at GPPA told this newspaper.

The source said during the meeting, the GPPA boss was adamant that he was not going to approve the contract if the IEC fails to submit the required information requested by his office.

The GPPA has demanded that the IEC provides them with the credentials of the staff working with the Canadian company among other things.

According to the source, the IEC has finally submitted some information about the company to the GPPA for their review and final recommendations.

“It is now up to the GPPA to decide whether the IEC should go ahead with the contract or not. The GPPA will complete the review by Friday (today). The GPPA boss had also made it clear to the Auditor General that his office has nothing against the IEC,” the source said.

When contacted for comment, IEC Chairman Alieu Momarr Njai confirmed the meeting but he was quick to stress that the commission still maintained its prerogative to award the contract to the Canadian company.

“Irrespective of what happens next, we will have to buy the materials because without the materials there will be no voter registration or election. But we are hopeful that we will come to an agreement,” he said.

A source at the Auditor General’s Office confirmed the meeting but wouldn’t comment any further.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 29 Nov 2020 14:50:04
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 01 Dec 2020 :  00:27:25  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

https://standard.gm/dr-ceesay-warns-paper-ballot-could-throw-gambia-into-chaos/





By Tabora Bojang on November 30, 2020

Dr Ismaila Ceesay, presidential candidate for the Citizens’ Alliance party, has said the Independent Electoral Commission’s plan to introduce a paper ballot system in the upcoming presidential election is risky and that even a “single err or malpractice” could set the country ablaze.

“There are massive risks surrounding the paper balloting system. You don’t introduce a new system for the first time in a high stake election and the 2021 election is a high stake election with the incumbent held bent on winning and entrenching himself, with the opposition held bent on winning it at all costs. And it would be the first election after dictatorship in a democracy, with the whole underlying dynamics, the demographic environmental distress and so on. So you don’t experiment it there because any single mistake or any single indication that there are malpractices could burn this country,” Ceesay warned.

Dr Ceesay was speaking to The Standard on the side-lines of the Citizens’ Alliance maiden congress and rally held in his native Brikama, where the party elected a new national executive to steer its affairs in the coming years.

Critics say the ballot paper could pose enormous problems given the overwhelming illiteracy rate in the country but the IEC has defended the plans, saying it is the best amid logistical and other hitches.

Dr Ceesay said given the “fragile security and political dynamics” of the country, the IEC could either conduct a simulation exercise on the new system and sensitise people about it or commence it with the local government election.

He said the risks surrounding the new system are “exacerbated by the failure of the security sector reform” and accused the government of “neglecting the reform in favour of politics.”

“We are living in a very fragile situation and it is very volatile and as we go into politics, it could even get worse. The political rhetoric is at a high. Parties don’t see eye to eye, so much hate speech, no meaningful reforms, no meaningful electoral reforms, no meaningful reconciliation, a youth population hungry, eager, passionate for change, no jobs frustrated, hopeless and they are the population in urban areas. You look at the demographic trend 60% of the population live in urban Gambia, majority youths congested no amenities. It is a ticking time bomb and our security is not equipped enough to deal with these changing dynamics, the reform has failed because there is much focus on politics. So much focus on entrenching the current government that every other thing is a back seat,” he charged.

Addressing a large crowd in Brikama on Saturday, Ceesay said a Citizens’ Alliance-led government will lift the country out of its “perennial problems of poverty, under development, inequality, lack of basic amenities, corruption, poor health and educational system among others and lead a visionary planning and development path that is home grown and depends on our home grown human and natural resources, promote good governance, social justice, cohesion, efficient security sector, and address the desperation of the young people in taking ownership of the country.”

Meanwhile, the following members have been elected as the CA national executive; Secretary General Maimuna Jallow, National President Dominic Mendy, Women President Fatou Sonko, Youth President Omar Dibba, National Mobiliser Razy Diab, Diaspora President Ali Jagne, Spokesperson Neneh Gomez, Treasurer Anthony Gomez, President for the Disable Yusupha Hydara.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 01 Dec 2020 :  12:02:27  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

https://standard.gm/inter-party-says-iec-should-not-take-legal-advice-from-ag/




By Omar Bah on December 1, 2020

The 16 political parties that attended the Inter-Party Committee meeting last week to debate on the Elections Bill have unanimously recommended that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) should not seek legal advice from the Attorney General’s office on matters that deal with elections. The politicians instead recommended that the commission have an independent legal department of people with impeccable integrity to be advising it on legal matters.

This, the political parties said, will ensure the complete independence of the IEC.

The representatives of the political parties argued that seeking legal advice from the Attorney General could undermine IEC’s independence.

The Committee is the body that stands to bring all political parties in The Gambia under one umbrella with a view to fostering peace, tranquility, tolerance and political decency.

Though subsection 2 (g) of the Bill provides that the IEC is responsible for issuing permits for political rallies in consultation with the Inspector General of Police, the political parties however said the police should only be notified for necessary security arrangements and not necessarily consulted. The IPC members also want prisoners to be allowed to vote, adding “eligibility requirements to vote should be based on being a Gambian.”

The Elections Bill 2020 maintained Section 109 (5) which states “a political party shall declare to the Commission, its income and assets and their sources” but the political parties argued that the part which requires them to disclose their sources of income should be omitted.

The IPC members further want section 154(2) which states the Commission may make rules generally for the better carrying out of the provisions of the Act amended to read: “The Commission may make rules generally for the better carrying out of the Provisions of this Act, and shall in particular make rules in consultation with the Inter-Party Committee.”

According to the IPC members, their committee should be made a statutory body with the mandate to make reservations on the appointments of Commissioners of the IEC.

The IPC also called for the IEC to come up with a more efficient voter registration in order to avoid double registrations.

The review of the bill couldn’t be completed on the two scheduled two-day periods and as a result, the IEC is planning to schedule a new date to complete discussions which will be followed by a media conference.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 10 Dec 2020 :  11:39:01  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

https://foroyaa.net/foroyaa-should-answer-my-question-who-polices-the-iec/


QUESTION OF THEDAY December 8, 2020


Foroyaa’s reply is simple: It is the courts that should police the IEC if that is an appropriate word to use in relation to the courts. In short, the courts do not police institutions and individuals they administer, interpret the law and ensure dispensation of justice.

Section 5 of the Constitution relating to the enforcement of the Constitution states:

“(1) A person who alleges that

(b) any act or omission of any person or authority, is inconsistent with or is in contravention of a provision of this Constitution, may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for a declaration to that effect.

(2) The court may make orders and give directions as it may consider appropriate for giving effect, or enabling effect: to be given, to such a declaration and any person to whom any order or direction is addressed shall duly obey and carry out the terms of the order or direction.”

Hence anyone who believes that the mandate of any member of the IEC is unconstitutional could go to the Supreme Court to seek redress.

The Inter-Party Committee is also a partner to the IEC, If any alleged anomaly is brought to its notice it should be able to engage in dialogue with the IEC for clarity and action . No decent Gambian would want fall foul of the law. Anything pursued in good faith would yield positive results in the national interest.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 14 Dec 2020 :  16:41:45  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Why no comprimise ? Seems a bit like the BREXIT negotiations going on between the UK and EU.
It's all about POWER and Politics.

++++++++++


https://standard.gm/dr-ceesay-fears-2021-polls-in-danger-without-consensus-framework0/



By Momodou Darboe on December 14, 2020


The Citizens’ Alliance (CA) party said any absence of an agreeable framework for 2021 general election can result in election-related problems for the country.

The party is therefore clamoring for an immediate all-stakeholders convention for consensus building and it reveals its intention of reaching out to President Adama Barrow, considering the urgency of the matter.

CA believes that the success and peaceful conduct of the 2021 presidential polls depends largely on the creation of a framework for the national exercise so that there is consensus on the rules, referee and roadmap.

“This must be clear now. We cannot go for election without this happening. It is very important for us to sit- all political stakeholders and the civil society-and have a clear roadmap and agree that these are the rules and the reforms needed and we go for it because otherwise, it will cause problems at the end of the day,” CA’s flag-bearer for 2021, Dr Ismaila Ceesay told journalists in a press conference on Friday.

Dr Ceesay advised that the 2021 general election should be devoid of any ambiguities when it comes to the rules governing the exercise.

He warned that any dilly-dallying on the issue of a framework that will strike an agreement with all parties would tantamount to storing a problem for the country.

“We start now so that when we approach the game, everything is set so we know our expectations. But if that doesn’t happen, it becomes problem for this country going forward,” he counseled.

Meet the farmers’ tour

Dr Ceesay used the press conference to question the wisdom and rationale of President Barrow’s Meet the People Tour, coming at a time when the country is recovering from pandemic-induced devastations across several sectors of the economy.

He branded it as a farce, lavish, wasteful spending of tax-payers’ money, a disgrace and a misplaced priority.

“How can you take tax-payers money in millions of dalasis with all this Covid-19 recovery that is happening? Businesses are struggling, people are suffering and the economy is bad. In fact, the projections for the economy are even worse,” CA’s torch-bearer lamented.

To Dr Ceesay, the tour is a political move disguised as meeting of farmers.

“There is politics…pure and partisan politics. How can a cross-carpeting be an issue of meet the farmers’ tour. So, it’s really sad and unfortunate we still find ourselves in the same things we condemned not so long ago,” he added.

Term-limit

The CA presidential candidate reported that the Barrow government is currently machinating to hoodwink Gambians into believing that it’s serious about reviving the draft constitution after spearheading its crash.

To Dr Ceesay, this is a conspiracy to defraud the Gambian people and the international community, saying the chief justification of the conspiracy is to ensure Barrow’s stay in power is perpetuated.

“Not only did they abort the transition but they are doing the same thing that is undermining the development and democratic potentials of this country. Term limit must be put in the constitution. If we go to 2021 without a single reform, then what would be the purpose of the transition? ,”he queried.

Banjul roads project

Stressing the need for government contracts to be awarded in the best interest of the citizenry, Dr Ceesay gave examples of government-awarded contracts, he said, are destructive to the country. Whilst describing the contracts for fishmeal factories as bad for the country, Semlex as destructive, the black sand mine as exploitative as it benefits only one man, the political Scientist contended that the Banjul roads project was not awarded with the future generation in mind. To Dr. Ceesay, the construction is shoddy and the contract shortsightedly awarded in an uncompetitive way.

“The Banjul contract that they gave to build roads in Banjul for political purposes! They gave it to one man. Look at the kind; the quality of the roads they build. They are so bad that in 10/15 years, you have to renew them,” he explained.

Rural-urban drift

Dr. Ceesay said lack of prospects in the country-side has seen 60% of the country’s population live in the urban area and as a result, disproportionate pressures are exerted on the water infrastructure, the electricity grids, job market, shelter, health-care, roads with crime rate galloping.

GRTS

Dr Ceesay, still entertaining questions from journalists, said it’s lamentable that GRTS remains an instrument of political mobilization for sitting presidents nearly three decades after its establishment.

Corruption

He pointed out that since coming to power, nobody has seen the Barrow administration drag anyone to court for economic crimes despite daily sights of public servants building big mansions in this country and riding big cars.

Meanwhile, Friday press conference, held at Kanifing Estate, was the first addressed by Dr Ceesay following his confirmation as CA flag-bearer late this year.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 16 Dec 2020 :  14:09:42  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


https://standard.gm/gppa-demands-iec-re-tender-election-materials-contract0-iec-rejects-advice0/



By Omar Bah on December 15, 2020

The Gambia Public Procurement Authority has advised the Independent Electoral Commission to re-tender the controversial bidding process to supply election materials and voter’s cards as well as limit it to the four participating bidders in addition to shortening the bidding period.

However, the IEC is adamant to contract a company called Electoral Service International (ESI) despite GPPA’s refusal to approve the proposal.

ESI was competing with Dermalog, a German company, Ekemp International, a Chinese company and Smart Business Group, a Gambian company.

The GPPA has since warned the commission not to go against its advice to contract the Canadian company which will be ‘illegal’ and a complete disregard of the Procurement Act.

Last month, the Auditor General convened a meeting between the GPPA and the IEC to discuss the contentions regarding the contract.

During the meeting, the GPPA boss was adamant that he was not going to approve the contract if the IEC fails to submit the required information requested by his office.

The GPPA has demanded that the IEC provides them with the credentials of the staff working with the Canadian company among other things. Immediately after the meeting, the IEC submitted the information about ESI company to GPPA for review and final recommendations.

However, after reviewing the document, the GPPA in a letter addressed to the IEC obtained by The Standard, advised the electoral commission to include the ToR as an evaluation criterion, organize a pre-bid conference (preferable in Zoom) before deadline for re-submission and request for prior approvals thereafter.

When contacted on the matter, the IEC chairman Alieu Momarr Njai maintained that the IEC Act protects and empowers the commission to ensure that it is free from control or influence of either the president or the authorities.

“I can confirm to you that we are going ahead with our plans to award the contract to ESI. We are just waiting for government’s go ahead – we cannot go into another bidding process because we don’t even have that time,” Njai said.

However, the GPPA director general Saloum Malang, said the IEC “is not exempted from coming to the GPPA to seek approvals”.

The GPPA argued that the “IEC failed to shed light on the ToR which is an important component of this procurement request. The ToR should not be settled later or during contract negotiation/signature as explained during a recent meeting attended by the National Audit Office, IEC and GPPA. It is our considered view that the ToR is a qualification criterion.”

“The GPPA also observed that of all the four participating bidders, only one bidder complied with this requirement by submitting the qualification and experience of key personnel, which is an important evaluation criterion. However, we realized that IEC only made mention of ESI’s key personnel (Ryan Casson and Alexis Gysel) without any documentary proof,” GPPA stated.

The GPPA said they have also observed the exclusion of key specifications/requirements of the items such as the 250 power supply UPS, PVC cards, database and PVC card printer Ribbon. “IEC has also failed to provide the ranking of bidders according to their responsiveness, subsequently and from the foregoing, it is our considered opinion that IEC has not addressed the issue/anomalies previously raised by GPPA, but only provided an inadequate evaluation matrix. The IEC resubmission only focused on ESI and was completely silent about other participating bidders,” the GPPA stated.

This, GPPA added, defeats the spirit of Section (3) of GPPA (Amendment) Act 2018.

“Hence, the Authority is not provided with sufficient information to enable it to make an informed decision on your procurement request. Therefore, based on the above observations, the Authority is left with no option but to make the above recommendations,” the letter concluded.
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"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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toubab1020



11028 Posts

Posted - 27 Jan 2021 :  13:04:19  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


https://standard.gm/iec-says-awarding-election-material-contract-to-local-firms-risky/


==========
By Tabora Bojang on January 27, 2021

The chief electoral officer of the Independent Electoral Commission has told a National Assembly select committee that history has shown that the involvement of local companies in the procurement of electoral materials could engender electoral violence and dispute.

At least 3 overseas firms; Electoral Service International, Ekemp International and Dermalog have all expressed interest in the IEC contract alongside Smart Business Group, a Gambian company.

The director general of the Gambia Public Procurement Authority, Saloum Malang said the restriction on including local partnership in awarding the contract is discriminatory and goes contrary to the GPPA Act. The GPPA had also insisted that the TOR should be inputted in the bidding process to spell out exactly what is agreed on. The Standard understands all that has now been inputted into the new bidding which is now being evaluated by the IEC.

Many other commentators have made it known that the country’s own local firms should be given the opportunity and trust to implement such contracts, especially if they are responsive and show competence as Smart Business Group has demonstrated.

But according to Samboujang Njie, the procurement of voter materials is accompanied with a lot of risks, citing several instances like hacking when contractors sought local partnership.

“We are talking from experience and do not want a repetition of the same mistakes that used to happen in some other countries like Ghana and Kenya because they [local partners] gave the electoral data to a local political party and the system was hacked,” Njie told lawmakers.

“The local contractors often belong to a political party and when they do the printing, the voter data ends up with politicians and they tamper with it. For example, in 2016 someone just walked into the office of our chairman and said he was directed to cut off the IEC office internet and that was a local partner. Almost all these companies are affiliated and if we [IEC] do not put our foot on the ground at the end of the day and the interests were so high, they would influence us to do something that would be detrimental to the peace and stability of this country,” he said.

Njie charged that the IEC, having further taken into consideration the risks attached to local partnership, will not entertain awarding the contract to a beginner.

“These local partners are our own brothers and we wish them all the best of luck but we do not want to do something that would backfire on us and the entire country,” he added.

He added that ESI was recommended due to the successes it registered in the 2011 and 2016 elections, having printed out 800, 000 cards in 44 days.

“We don’t expect anything but improvement and the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know and we cannot start with a beginner in this atmosphere, especially if the election is just at the corner. If anybody is holding The Gambia, it is not us. We were ever ready and informed Gambians since July 2020 that we are coming for the registration but why would GPPA wait until the last minute and ask us to indicate the terms of references of the bidders?” Mr Njie said.

Smart Business Group reacts

However, asked to comment on this, Omar Njie, the CEO of Smart Business Group the only local company in the bidding process, said the IEC’s argument does not hold water.

“They have always wanted to give this contract to ESI. In the first place, if they had their way, they would not even open this bidding to others. They further intended to edge out competitors by stipulating that companies with local partners, or in our case, international partners, will not qualify among other bottlenecks,” Mr Njie said. He dismissed IEC’s fear of local companies compromising data to political parties, arguing that most of election fraud cases around the continent are committed by foreign companies. “How can anyone tamper or commit fraud when the IEC would be the only entity controlling the entire process and in charge of every data? The entire process is owned and controlled by the IEC and only they can commit errors not the production company. Our partner Genkey is a worldwide renowned company with years of experience in election material production in many countries in Africa. They worked in Ghana, Tanzania with 30 million voters. Our partners have never had any record of fraud or mistakes. They know our partners have very strong credentials that was why they initially did not want partnerships in the bidding process,” he said. My Njie added that his company had taken the trouble to go to Ghana to find out the activities of Genkey and chose it among many other possible partners because of their solid reputation and credibility.

Mr Njie said as a citizen of The Gambia, the last thing his company would wish is to compromise Gambian elections or cause conflict. “It is unfortunate that the IEC should think like this,” he concluded.
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toubab1020



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Posted - 28 Jan 2021 :  00:43:58  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


https://standard.gm/iec-gppa-dash-to-finalise-election-material-contract-0/

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By Omar Bah on January 26, 2021


The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was yesterday locked in a frantic effort to evaluate the four companies in the bid to supply election materials. The Electoral Commission had recommended and wish to award the contract to Electoral Service International (ESI) despite some objections by the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA). Because of the impasse between the two, the IEC was forced to delay the start of the voter registration because the ministry of finance would not release the monies budgeted for the contract without GPPA clearance.

Last night The Standard learned from credible sources that the Commission was brooding over the offers and bid of the four companies

Our source said the four companies have made the following offers: The Electoral Service International (ESI) USD 2, 995, 000 and $89, 850, 000 as bid security; Ekemp International Ltd USD 2, 495, 580, and USD 100, 000, as bid security, Smart Business USD 2, 903, 955 and USD 90, 000, as security whiles Dermalog offers Euros 2, 428, 452 and 120, 000 Euros as security.

Our source said the IEC is expected to finish the evaluation of the bids and submit their report to the GPPA by today while the GPPA is also expected to finish their own evaluation by midnight today.

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toubab1020



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Posted - 11 Feb 2021 :  16:55:50  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

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https://standard.gm/fm-counters-iec-claims-says-local-firms-should-participate-in-electoral-materials-contract0/

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By Tabora Bojang on February 11, 2021

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie has said Gambian companies must be given the opportunity to participate in securing electoral materials for upcoming elections counter to the claims of the IEC against local partnership.

During its appearance before the National Assembly select committee last month, the Independent Electoral Commission argued that history has shown that the involvement of local companies in the procurement of electoral materials could engender electoral violence and dispute.

The IEC was forced to delay the start of voter registration previously slated for January 14th 2021, following an impasse with the GPPA, which raised objections over the commission’s wish to select Electoral Service International (ESI).

At least three overseas firms and a Gambian company (Smart Business Group) have expressed interest, but IEC chief electoral officer Samboujang Njie insisted that taking into consideration the risks attached to local partnerships, IEC will not condone awarding the contract to a beginner, since “local contractors often belong to a political party and when they do the printing, the voter data ends up with politicians and they tamper with it”.

But speaking to journalists following discussions with lawmakers on IEC’s electoral budget for the upcoming elections Tuesday, Minister Njie countered: “The bottom line and my whole argument is, elections are held every five years and whatever we are requesting are they telling me that Gambian companies cannot do it? Even if a Gambian company cannot do it they can partner with an international company and build capacity. That’s my whole argument,” Minister Njie said.

“It hurts. This is taxpayers’ money. Gambians are paying the money and any time we take the money, we ship it outside and those companies coming are commercial firms, they will never hand over that technology to our own guys. So how de we build capacity? So I am insisting that we go further to in fact legislate local content.”

The minister said even though government has no plan to compromise quality, its prefers Gambian companies to be part of the process.

“If Gambian companies cannot do it, they can partner with international companies and the knowledge transferred to the local partner so that we boost our own companies to make sure they will be able to compete internationally,” Njie added.


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toubab1020



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Posted - 15 Feb 2021 :  17:09:13  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


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https://standard.gm/iec-contract-losing-bidders-threaten-action-0/

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By Omar Bah on February 15, 2021

The Gambia Public Procurement Authority has endorsed the Independent Electoral Commission’s decision to award the US$3 million election materials supply contract to the Canadian company, ESI.

ESI emerged as the most qualified bidder, the GPPA evaluation team was said to have ruled.

The company has been doing business with the IEC for many years and has supplied election materials to the commission in the past election cycles.

ESI won the first bid but the GPPA said the tender process wasn’t fairly done.

Smart Business Group, the only Gambian company that tendered a bid for the contract filed an objection to the award claiming that it was discriminatory for the IEC to exclude local businesses in the bid.

But now the GPPA has withdrawn its objection and endorsed the award of the contract to ESI. The commission is expected to write to the unsuccessful bidders by today to inform them about the award of the contract.

But according to our source at the GPPA, Dermalog, a German company, Ekemp International, a Chinese company and Smart Business Group, a Gambian company which were competing with ESI have threatened to take legal action against the IEC.

“The GPPA were doing everything professionally. I could not understand what suddenly went wrong. The issue is that the ESI was not responsive during the first bidding process. The German company was deemed to be more responsive but they offered the highest bid price but what stopped the IEC from telling the company to consider bringing their price down,” the source said.

When contacted for comments, IEC Chairman Alieu Momar Njai, said the awarding of the election material contract has not been finalized and declined to comment further.

The GPPA director general, Saloum Malang, told The Standard yesterday he was not in a good position to comment on the matter.

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