Why The Ksh. 47M NHIF Computer Equipment Tender Was Cancelled By PPRA Board

By The Weekly Vision

A multi-million shillings tender awarded to Tana Solutions Ltd by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) has been cancelled by The Public Administrative Review Board (PPRA). The Board then ordered a fresh process in adherence to procurement laws. In a ruling dated 15th June 2023, PARRB declared the process null and void, unprocedural and that it was marred with corruption as the alleged winner of Tender No. NHIF/028/2022-2023 for the Supply of Computer Equipment won the tender fraudulently. 

One of the participants in the tendering process, Woodex Technologies Ltd was dissatisfied with the whole process where 41 firms submitted their applications and filed a review. During the evaluation process, only 8 firms were determined responsive and preceded for evaluation at the Technical Evaluation stage.

At the end of the Technical Evaluation Stage, one (1) tender was determined unresponsive while seven (7) tenders including Woodex Technologies Ltd and Tana Solutions Ltd, were determined responsive and thus proceeded for evaluation at the Financial Evaluation stage. At this stage of evaluation, the Evaluation Committee at the end of the Financial Evaluation stage, the Woodex Technologies Ltd tender was determined to have the lowest evaluated tender price of Kshs. 46,056,060 inclusive VAT.

The Evaluation Committee recommended the award of the subject tender to Woodex Technologies Ltd being the lowest responsive evaluated tenderer at a total cost of Kshs. 46,056,060.00 inclusive VAT. In a Professional Opinion dated 26th April 2023 the Ag. Head Supply Chain Management, Dr Wasike Walubengo, reviewed how the subject procurement process was undertaken including the evaluation of tenders and concurred with the recommendations of the Evaluation Committee concerning the award of the subject tender to Woodex Technologies Ltd.

He thus requested NHIF to approve the award of the subject tender as per the recommendation of the Evaluation Committee. Thereafter, Dr Samson Kuhora, Ag. Chief Executive Officer, approved the First Professional Opinion on 26th April 2023. However, his remarks that several queries had been lodged on the subject tender and requested for the Ag. Head Supply Chain Management to verify that all processes and necessary documents and the reasons for rejection had been justified and filed.

Tenderers were notified of the outcome of the evaluation of the subject tender via letters of Notification of Intention to Award dated 28th April 2023. Notification of Acceptance of Award in the subject tender by Woodex Technologies Ltd Vide a letter dated 5th May 2023 addressed to and received by the NHIF on the same date, Woodex Technologies Ltd accepted the award of the subject tender.

Request for Debriefing by Tana Solutions Vide a letter dated 9th May 2023 addressed to the Head Supply Chain Management, to be furnished with a debrief on the due diligence done to the successful tenderer, that Woodex Technologies Ltd did not have a genuine ICTA (Information, Communication and Technology Authority) certificate as per the ICT Authority website.

Verification of the Applicant’s ICTA Certificate from ICT Authority by the Respondents Vide an email dated 9th May 2023 sent to the ICT Authority by Head Supply Chain Management, Dr Wasike Walubengo, sought from ICT Authority for verification and confirmation of the genuineness of the Applicant’s compliance certificate.

On 10th May 2023, the Ag. Head Supply Chain Management, Dr. Wasike Walubengo received an email dated 10th May 2023 from the Directorate of Programmes and Standards of ICT Authority notifying them that following their verification, the Applicant’s certificate was not valid since it had expired on 2nd February 2023 under the End User-Computing Category.

Further, vide a letter dated 12th May 2023, Dr Wasike Walubengo informed the Applicant that the Evaluation Committee had been asked to re-evaluate all tenders submitted in the subject tender and indicated that the matter had been concluded based on the response by the ICT Authority.

The Evaluation Committee recommended the award of the subject tender to Tana Solutions at Kshs. 47,980,000.00 only inclusive of VAT. Second Notification to Tenderers Vide an email dated 18th May 2023, tenderers were notified that reevaluation of the subject tender had been completed and the subject tender was awarded to the second lowest evaluated tenderer, Tana Solutions Ltd and letters of Notification of Intention to Award were ready for collection at NHIF, however, on 31st May 2023, Wodex Technologies Limited, filed a request for Review No.34 of 2023 dated 30th May 2023 signed by its Director, John Muthini Mutunga.

They claimed that the emails supposedly from ICT Authority disclosed that the email had not been signed off to show which office of the ICT Authority had sent that email, the email had been sent from the Directorate of Programmes and Standards which is a department that does not exist within the ICT Authority. The report from ICT Authority reads in part “Wodex Technologies Limited- Registration No: CPR/2012/73253 is accredited under End User Computing Devices (ICTA 5) category, Valid Till: 2 nd Feb 2024”.

NHIF, however, reported that the material time when the certificate from the ICT Authority ought to have been valid as at the date of the tender submission deadline of 21st March 2023 and as such, having verified the Applicant’s certificate and found that it had expired on 2nd February 2023 and was not valid, meant that the Applicant failed to meet a mandatory requirement and on account of this new information, the Evaluation Committee’s was justified to conduct a re-evaluation of tenders in the subject tender.

The board in the ruling said “We find the Respondents did not issue the award of the subject tender to the Interested Party in accordance with the provisions of the Tender Document, the Act and the Constitution. We therefore find it just and fair to (a) nullify the award of the subject tender issued to the Interested Party pursuant to the Respondent’s email of 18th May 2023, (b) nullify all the letters of Notification of Intention to Award the subject tender to unsuccessful tenderers including the Applicant pursuant to 112 the Respondent’s email of 18th May 2023 and (c) order the Respondents to make good anything done wrongly taking into consideration the Board’s findings in this decision” The ruling further reads “As such, we shall proceed to grant extension of the subject tender’s validity period for a further thirty (30) days from 15th June 2023”. 

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