Rigged Public Tender of GNCC Worth of GEL 267 857
As a result of monitoring of the tender announced by the National Communications Commission, Transparency International Georgia concluded that the public procurement tender worth of 267 857 GEL, announced by the regulator on 19 December 2017 for procurement of the Internet quality monitoring system, is tailor-made to the particular supplier. The actions of the GNCC severely violate the principles of openness and competitiveness of public procurement and include the indications of alleged crime. The present tender needs to be suspended and the relevant state authorities should start the investigation into this case.
Transparency International Georgia regularly monitors the public procurement tenders carried out by the administrative authorities. This time, we put focus on the procurement announced by the GNCC.
Tender announced by the Commission
On 19 December 2017, the National Communications Commission announced the tender (NAT170014992), aimed at purchasing the Internet quality measurement system. Estimated value of procurement amounts to GEL 267 857; the bidding process started on January 22 and ended up on January 25. According to the documents, the Commission plans to purchase the Internet quality measurement system, which includes a license for stationary server supporting software, a software license for a portable device automatically measuring the quality of Internet, consulting services, processing of testing results, analysis and so on.
Despite the availability of numerous international actors in the field of Internet quality measurement, only one company - Visualware, Inc took part in the tender. The company is registered in the United States and its tender offer makes up GEL 265 179.
Tender tailor-made to a particular supplier
Following the study of the documents uploaded by the Georgian National Communications Commission including the draft of the procurement contract, we have concluded that the tender announced by the regulator is tailor-made to the specific company - Visualware, Inc. Apart from the fact that terms of the tender are highly specified, our doubts are further substantiated by the fact that the following identification details of Visualware, Inc are directly stated in the text of the draft.
Official website address of Visualware, Inc, ;
Computer application MyConnection Server developed by Visualware.Inc;
Initials of Visualware.Inc Director, HENRY C. HARRIS, at the place of signature
It is noteworthy that the draft of the contract with the identification details of Visualware, Inc was uploaded as early as December 2017. By that time, the company had not even filed an application for the tender.
Apparently, the Commission had earlier communication with the mentioned company. In order to ensure winning of the tender by Visualware, Inc, the Commission specially adapted the terms of the procurement. Furthermore, it included the draft of the contract, which the company had provided in advance, thus announcing the candidate as a future winner of the tender.
We believe that the GNCC’s action severely violates the principles of openness and competitiveness of public procurement and contains the indications of alleged crime.
Accordingly, we call on:
The State Procurement Agency to suspend the tender and to start inquiry on the matter;
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to launch an investigation in response to the indications of possible crime;
The National Communications Commission to immediately suspend the tender and to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to ensure due investigation of possible crime.
Meantime, as a follow-up to the inquiry on the matter, we call on the management of the State Procurement Agency to carry out relevant structural and/or personnel changes to ensure that in future, relevant units of the Agency are the ones identifying and offering due response to similar problems, as required by the public procurement law.