Corruption in Rs 5.2 billion Tab tender

Corruption in Rs 5.2 billion Tab tender

Corruption in Rs 5.2 billion Tab tender

Written by Staff Writer

30 Jun, 2018 | 1:35 am

Colombo (News 1st) – Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam are to go ahead with the controversial Tab distribution program among A-level students.

The tender process which was awarded to a Sri Lankan company is embroiled in controversy. The tender document which has a thorough specification list was modified three days prior to the tender being awarded. The modification to the tender was done by way of a letter sent by the senior assistant secretary procurement for the ministry of education requiring bidders to provide FCC identification numbers for the tabs which contain the grantee code and product code.

The FCC website states the certification program takes 8-12 weeks on average and involves a complex process. Only one bidder was prepared with the FCC numbers with the only way for this bidder to have obtained the FCC numbers is if they were aware of the requirement ahead of time. It has been common practice in Sri Lanka to customise tender specification to ensure only one bidder has qualified for the tender. That appears to be the case this time around as well.

In total, there were 4 bidders for the tender at varying values as follows:

  1. Bidder 1 – Rs 5,366,277,278.00
  2. Bidder 2 – Rs 4,153,120,221.00
  3. Bidder 3 – Rs 4,219,018,706.00
  4. Bidder 4 – Rs 5,635,572,002.00

Bidder 1 was awarded the tender regardless of the fact they were not the cheapest bidder. At a meeting held on 18.01.2018, between the winning bidder and the negotiation committee, the bidder expressed its consent in writing to reduce the quoted price by Rs 97,281,278.00.

Even after the price reduction, bidder 1 remained the 2nd most expensive. The justification given for the selection of the 2nd most expensive bid is that it “was found most suitable for the health of the children and durable as well.”

News 1st was unable to verify what criteria was used to determine that the selected bidder’s tab was the most suitable for the health of the children and durability.

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