The Independent Review Panel (IRP) has ordered the cancellation of a contract worth Rs 21.38 million. It also requires that another Bid Evaluation Committee be set up to repeat the proposal evaluation exercise. This was granted by the Ministry of Education to Smart Security Services Ltd on March 25. This is for security services in schools and ministry establishments during the day. Smart Security Services Ltd was awarded the contract for the four education zones.

But, RSL Security Services Ltd, one of the eight bidders, protested on March 25 against the decision to award this contract to Smart Security Services Ltd, following a call for tenders launched on October 24.

RSL Security Services Ltd points out that its offer, which was Rs 20.20 million, was the lowest and that it met all the criteria. The security company believes it should have won the contract, given that its proposal was 6% cheaper than that of Smart Security Services Ltd.

On April 3, the Ministry of Education responded to RSL Security Services' protest. “After the evaluation of the offers received, that of RSL Security Services Ltd was not deemed compliant,” he says.

“The bidder was disqualified from the tender exercise as it failed to submit a valid permit issued by the Commissioner of Police to operate as a security service provider, which was a mandatory requirement . As stated in the tender template completed by all bidders, a valid license issued by the Commissioner of Police to operate as a security service provider was a mandatory criterion. The bidder did not provide any documentation to support this mandatory requirement and was therefore disqualified from the bidding exercise. »

Dissatisfied with these explanations, on April 8, RSL Security Services Ltd referred the matter to the IRP. It considers in fact that “the non-submission of a valid permit issued by the Commissioner of Police to operate as a security service provider, which was a mandatory requirement cannot be upheld and/or cannot result in direct disqualification.”

The company believes that the ministry should have asked for clarification on this point instead of eliminating it from the start. It also highlights that in the instructions to bidders, it is stipulated that if a document is missing, the ministry must request it from the bidder.

“The public body was therefore wrong to disqualify RSL Security Services Ltd's tender without first requesting this document. Considering the price of RSL Security Services Ltd's bid and the public interest, the public body should have asked the bidder to provide the missing document. Because it was an involuntary omission which did not modify the substance of the offer, nor constitute a material deviation or reservation, nor improve it in any way. In addition, the bidder currently provides similar security services to the public body in other locations,” states RSL Security Services Ltd in its complaint to the IRP.

The IRP analyzed the documents and heard both sides on the issue. He emphasizes in his judgment that having a security service provider license is a sine qua non condition for obtaining this type of contract. But he also emphasizes that it is “equally clear” that the Bid Evaluation Committee has “the discretion to request the submission of the missing document, namely the valid license issued by the Commissioner of Police”. “The direct disqualification for the omission of the valid license in the bidder's offer was manifestly incorrect in the present case,” adds the IRP.

It therefore concludes that “the decision of the Bid Evaluation Committee was flawed, unreasonable and incorrect” and “orders a further re-evaluation exercise by a newly constituted committee”.

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