Saturday, January 13, 2018

SEMLEX refuses to participate in the re-tendering of the biometric ID/Passport project

SEMLEX Headquarters, Brussels 
According to our sources, Semlex, the Belgian family-owned biometric company,  has refused to honor government's invitation to submit its bid proposal following government decision to re-tender the National ID/Passport project after a contentious bidding process that favored the Belgian company. 

Pristine Consulting, a wholly-owned Gambian company, by contrast, submitted its proposal to government before the deadline.

Semlex refused to honor government's invitation because they felt entitled to being re-awarded the contract without competing for it. 

The company is adamant that the Barrow administration should ignore all procurement protocols and award the contract to them.  Semlex's insistence is perplexing as it is an arrogant display of chutzpah by a company with such poor record that stretches from Guinea Bissau to The Comoros.   

Their rationale is they were awarded the contract under Jammeh which, it so happens, was terminated few months before Jammeh lost the December 2016 elections.  An attempt to re-award the contract to them failed which led to the decision to re-tender the contract.

As at Noon, Thursday 4th January, 2018 when was the closing date for the submission of tenders, only Pristine submitted a proposal. According to our sources, Semlex representatives visited Banjul a few days before the closing date and met with government officials.  The reason for the visit cannot be ascertained at this time. 

Based on well sourced information and by every known procurement rule and procedure, if there is only one responsive bid, as it is the case here, the government is obligated under the procure rules to negotiate with the bidder that substantially complied with the invitation to bid.  Government cannot award a contract to a bidder that refuses to honor its invitation to submit a bid proposal.