Forgery rampant due to weak tendering process

Phub Dem

The tendering committee of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) has found presence of fraudulent practices in BD Commercial’s tendering documents.

BD Commercial had submitted the documents for the supply of HID printers and accessories. This flaw and others in the government’s tendering system have widened gaps in the provision of quality services and products.

MoIC has taken up the case with Procurement and Property Management Division under the Department of National Properties.

BD Commercial was the lowest bidder and in the position, according to the government’s tendering system, to be awarded the supply contract. However, when asked for manufacturing certificate (authorisation letter from the parent agency), the company provided two—both were found to be fake.

The parent agency—HID Global clarified that Ugen Trading House (UTH) was the only authorised dealer in Bhutan.

UTH then wrote to the ministry of economic affairs and MoIC’s planning and policy division.

An official with BD Commercial said that the company did not know it required authorisation letter from the parent agency.

“We had sought rate from a company in Dubai since the tender did not specify that we must be authorised dealer,” he said.

However, according to the condition of the contract under standard bidding document, general conditions contact (GCC), the bidder must submit the manufacturing certificate from the principal company, in this case HID Global, without which the document will be considered non-responsive.

This, according to sources, was the third time the BD Commercial was found producing fake documents.

As per the evidence, BD Commercial together with BG sales had submitted a fake authorisation letter from Samsung Korea for the CCTV equipment of Bank of Bhutan in 2014. Again, in the same year, BD Commercial and Tshomo Geo Tech enterprise submitted a fake authorisation letter in the name of HID Global.

BD officials questioned the basis for the requirement of manufacturing certificate. He said that such criteria were giving rise to monopoly in the market.

“As a buyer, if a procuring entity just trusted the manufacturing certificate for the quality products, only a few companies would benefit. There are chances that a certified dealer may supply an inferior product and there is no equipment to test the products,” he said.

An MOIC official said that the manufacturing certificate was required to authenticate the source and quality of the products. He said that the certificate further was useful in market-rate analysis to award the bid at reasonable price.

Why such things  happen?

This is the third time BD Commercial has been found faking authorisation letter. No action has so far been taken.

Traders are of the view that more than the illegal practices the fault lies with the enforcers for encouraging the proliferation of such practices.

Chief Executive Officer of UTH, Ugen Norbu Jamyang, said that he had been writing to trade department and relevant agencies regarding the presence of such malpractices since 2004.

There were loopholes in the system, he said, due chiefly to weak enforcement. And the system of holding someone responsible was too weak, he added. “Many offenders are blatantly flouting the law. The willful offenders are getting away scot-free and getting bolder by the day.”

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