SBAC officially endorses Smartmatic as the winning bidder for poll automation project

June 5, 2009 1:50 pm 

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, June 5 — The Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC) of the Commission on Elections has officially endorsed the consortium of Smartmatic and Total Information Management System (TIM), the lowest calculated responsive bidder, as the winning supplier for the P11.3-billion poll automation project.

With this, the SBAC has cleared the consortium on all the issues that were raised against it during the bidding process, including its failure to submit a “copy of its single largest contract,” which is one of the requirements.

In an eight-page recommendation to the Comelec en banc, the SBAC said that the Venezuela-based company has not yet “shown a copy of its single largest contract on the ground that is has a non-disclosure agreement with the election body of Venezuelan government."

The committee further confirmed that they also failed to get a reply from the Venezuelan government. However, they said they received a duly-authenticated certification from the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) of the Venezuelan government, including the bid documents, indicating the amount of the contract which is above the eligibility requirement of the SBAC.

SBAC said among the other issues settled was that Jarltech International of Taiwan, which will manufacture the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, is a Smartmatic subsidiary.

“During post-qualification proceedings, we received a letter from the President of Jarltech International, in response to our query, to the effect that Smartmatic owns the majority of the shareholdings of Jarltech. Therefore, it is truly a subsidiary,” the committee said.

Another issue — that Dominion Voting Company of Canada is the owner of the PCOS technology — was settled after verification showed that there is a licensing agreement between Smartmatic and Dominion.

The SBAC said they found out that Jarltech tapped Kenmec Mechanical Engineering Company for the production of the PCOS machines, but only for the purpose of “Outsourcing Manufacturing Contract” and not a subcontract.

“Kenmec is not a subcontractor. Kenmec will only be providing the 'space' where Smartmatic, through the Smartmatic Subsidiary, will assemble the PCOS voting machines,” the SBAC said, quoting the motion for reconsideration filed by the winning bidder.

The SBAC headed by lawyer Ferdinand Rafanan endorsed the Smartmatic/TIM consortium as the winning bidder for the multibillion-peso poll automation contract on June 3.

The company submitted a bid of P7,191,484,739.48, about P4 billion less than the estimated total automation cost. It will be providing more than 80,000 PCOS machines nationwide.

The Comelec is set to award the contract next week. <bp>The 2010 polls will be the country’s first-ever automated elections. (PNA) scs/FGP/utb

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