Controversy Over LWSC Bidding Process

By Edwin G. Wandah

Serious crisis is said to be hanging over the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation-LWSC 2014 bidding process of the provision of Water Treatment Chemicals which was said to have been cancelled by the LWSC Boss Charles B. Allen.

Documents in the possession of this paper showed that one of the bidders, Ambassador David Daniel of Identicard Systems, Equipment and Accessories, addressed a letter to the Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation on February 18, 2015, concerning his company’s position on the bidding process which was given out by the Liberia Water and Sewer in providing Water Chemicals to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation in which Ambassador Daniels outlined several issues.

During our investigation conducted, Ambassador David Daniels informed the aforesaid, Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer about his company’s participation in a bid to providing Water Chemicals to the Liberia Water and Sewer and submitted documents on December 19, 2014 at 11:45 a.m. before the closing time of 12 p.m. the same day.

In his letter, Ambassador Daniels made it clear that, when he and his CEO, Clara McIntosh arrived at the offices of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, they met with the Procurement Manager of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation who further told them that due to the presence of the United Nations Secretary, Bin Ki Moon in the country at the time with traffic congestion, it was difficult for other companies in the bidding process to make themselves available for the opening, but that the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation extended the opening time to two days, instead of the 19th of December, to the 22nd of December, hence, assured them, (Ambassador Daniels and CEO), safety facility at an option to leave their bid documents which contained their entire documents, but they, (AmbassadorDaniels and CEO) decided to take along their documents due to past experience since the Procurement Manager only had the keys to the safe.

In further investigation conducted by this paper, during the opening of the bid, one of the bidders, Victor Lartay of Capricorn Company who had been hired by the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation for little over 20 years, and also participated in the opening, raised some concerns as to why were the option given to take back bid documents, since indeed, the deadline of the process officially ended on the 19th of December, probably, implicating Identicard but could not ratify the statement from the Procurement giving them option to either take along their bid documents or leave, a condition which could not entrap anyone, or anybody liable for abridging PPCC regulations.

Capricorn was equally given due respect with other companies and was attested by one Vamuyen of Bio-Medic, one of those bidders in the process. It was clear that taking away party’s documents did not in any way have anything to do with process in three counts raised by Identicard, pages 26.5 of the ITB IF NO. GOL/LWSC/NCB/004/13/14 states that any purchaser may waive any minor informality or nonconformity or irregularity in a Tender which does not constitute a deviation, provided such waiver does prejudice or affect the relative ranking of any Tender.

Our investigation also revealed that due to time constraint, not all of the bidders were afforded much time to check their mails, (emails), but could have informed them via mobile phones, some of the bidders told this paper.

When this paper visited and spoke with the Managing Director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Charles Allen, the LWSC Boss told this paper that the bidding process was still going on, contrary to Ambassador Daniels claims that the bid was cancelled, but declined to give detailed information concerning a letter dated February 23rd 2015, cancelling the bid for ordering Water Treatment Chemicals (Alum and Lime).

In that letter which was written by Mr. Charles B. Allen, dated February 23rd, 2015, and addressed to Ambassador David Daniels, President of Identicard Systems, Equipment and Accessories, the LWSC Boss wrote, “I wish to present my compliments and herewith inform you that the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation-LWSC, writes to provide a reason for the recent cancellation of solicitation to procure Water Treatment Chemicals (Alum and Lime).”

In his letter, he also nullified some violations of Section 39(1), which states that all forms of communication must be in writing; but further stated that instead of reducing it into writing, the bidder, Ambassador Daniels verbally stated that the assumption justifies cancellation for the reason of transparency.

In a previous letter addressed to Ambassador Daniels by LWSC Boss Mr. Allen, the LWSC Boss requested him to take back his “Bid Security” (Bank Guarantee).

Meanwhile, in further investigation conducted by this paper, indication revealed that the LWSC Boss’ letter addressed to Ambassador Daniels, dated February 9 and 23 including other supporting documents contradicts statement attributed to him that the bid should not been opened.

In the letter to Ambassador David Daniels also dated February 9, and 23rd, 2015, he (Managing Director, Charles Allen stated that the bid, thus, supporting the action that the LWSC wants to consider Victor Lartay who is another bidder.

However, an insider informed this paper that Victor Lartay never had all supporting documents to the previous bid for the Water Chemical and that was why the LWSC cancelled the bid to allow him (Victor Lartay) to adequately prepare himself due to the long standing relationship of nearly over 20 years with the LWSC.