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Liberia’s election commission seeks clarification on biometrics procurement rerun proposal

Liberia’s election commission seeks clarification on biometrics procurement rerun proposal

Biometrics providers bidding on the contract for Liberia’s voter registration may get a do-over, Front Page Africa reports, with the National Election Commission inquiring about the details of who is eligible and how another round of demonstrations should be conducted.

The NEC has asked the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) for clarification on several points, including whether its criticism of the bid from Ekemp and its partners on grounds that they may have misrepresented their ability to meet pre-financing requirements should disqualify them from a repeat round of presentations.

Three bidders did not respond to the pre-financing requirement, NEC says, and asks if they should each be excluded from bidding as well.

Two of the bidders were unable to perform biometric enrollment and de-duplication of the NEC staff volunteer on the spot, and then print cards, as required. The NEC wants to know if they should be excluded as well.

The PPCC has also been asked by the NEC to provide the legal basis for its demand that presentations should be video-recorded.

Laxton demonstrated its technology on a laptop, counter to the requirement in the bidding document to use a tablet, and the PPCC has objected that an email from NEC staff to Laxton seems to indicate a change in bid requirements which was not passed on to other bidders. The NEC says the PPCC is contradicting itself, and asks if the emailed information on the technical requirements should supersede the bid documents.

“If Laxton is to be invited to redo its presentation and shows up with the required tablet this time around, should the NEC allow Laxton to use the tablet?” the NEC asks. “If ‘yes’, would it be fair to the other bidders who are aware that Laxton used a laptop during the previous presentation and as such was evaluated as being unresponsive in this matter? Also, should the other bidders be given another opportunity to cure whatever defects or other unresponsiveness they had in their submission and/or previous physical presentation?”

The report indicates that all six bidders will be invited by the NEC to repeat their demonstrations, and that rerunning the procurement process could prevent the agency from beginning the voter registration as planned on December 15, 2022, ahead of the 2023 election.

The NEC has also been mired in a procurement scandal over the alleged lease of facial recognition thermometers from a company associated with Chair Davidetta Browne Lansanah’s brothers at inflated prices.

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