Liberia: PPCC Denies NEC’s EKEMP Again

 PPCC Executive Director, Atty. Jargbe Roseline Nagbe Kowo, left, and NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah


The Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), has again disagreed with the National Elections Commission (NEC) on its (NEC) selection of the joint venture EKEMP, INITS, and Palm Insurance.

EKEMP is a Chinese company while INITS and Palm Insurance are Nigerian and Liberian companies, respectively.

The joint venture, headed by EKEMP was among companies that bided to supply biometric materials and technical support for voter registration for the 2023 Legislative and Presidential Elections but, in the view of the PPCC and with backing from its own regulations as well as the provisions in the bid document of NEC, EKEMP is not qualified to do the Liberian people’s job.

Although PPCC is yet to speak on the development that it has written a letter of rejection of NEC’s selection of EKEMP for the second time, an unimpeachable source at the NEC has informed the Daily Observer that the communication was served the NEC today.

The action, according to our source, is reliant on the Procurement and Concession Commission’s review of NEC’s presented report which has, again, failed to meet the required criteria.

“She wants to see EKEMP win by force, the contract but it is a joke,” the source at the NEC said. “PPCC has denied Davidetta Browne Lansanah’s EKEMP again and I hope she will learn her lesson, lower her shoulders and understand that she is not working in isolation but with competent and qualified people who are her equal in position, except that she has been selected to serve as the spokesperson for the Board,” the source intimated.

It can be recalled that in August, NEC presented to the PPCC a report done by its bid evaluation panel, in which the Elections Commission suggested that EKEMP was the most responsive bidder, but PPCC denied the selection on grounds that there was no video recorded demonstration showcasing the ability of the company to deliver.

PPCC also noted in its communication than to NEC that EKEMP and its partners lack the capacity to pre-finance as provided for in the bid document prepared by NEC and, also, in line with its own (PPCC’s) regulations.

The re-demonstration process, with a call for a PowerPoint presentation by each company, was done and EKEMP, in its presentation, failed to print a biometric voter card within the allotted time. It printed only after the observers had left the hall.

Not satisfied with the experience, EKEMP wrote the procurement evaluation panel complaining that it was unfairly treated by being asked to do the PowerPoint presentation when, according to it, other companies were not subjected to the same treatment.

When contacted at the time, NEC's legal counsel Cllr. Teage Jalloh confirmed receipt of the complaint and said the Commission was making efforts to look into the company’s claims.

EKEMP, in its complaint letter, made a demand that NEC either allow it extra time to redo its demonstration or accept its first presentation and then submitted to PPCC.

The company, however, did not wait for the quasi-judicial proceeding from NEC but proceeded to the Supreme Court, seeking a Writ of Prohibition on the entire bidding process.

The Supreme Court, the Daily Observer learnt and reported, declined to hear EKEMP’s complaint on grounds that the company failed to exhaust the remedies available at NEC.

The Fiasco

As glaring as all the facts are, the Commission again re-selected the same EKEMP, the same company that flopped for the second time, and submitted to PPCC requesting a “No Objection” approval in order for EKEMP to go ahead with the production of the voter registration identification cards.

“This is my first time to see an NEC Chairman wicked like this. Davidetta Browne Lansanah does not mean well for the country and I think it is time President Weah sees reason and lets her go. I have been at this Commission for many years and I know what it means to conduct a peaceful, free and fair election. 2023 is not any children’s experiment thing we will be on. It is about the country’s future,” the Daily Observer’s source said.

Commissioners’ Disenchantment

The Daily Observer recently reported a story bearing the headline “NEC Has Become a One-Woman Show,” in which some Commissioners, speaking anonymously, disclosed that NEC Chairperson Davietta Browne Lansanah is the only one making all the policy decisions, mainly when it comes to contracts.

The Commissioners said they decided to air their concerns in order for the public to be aware that it is not the Board's decision that EKEMP must get the biometric voter registration contract.

They alleged that Lansanah consults with her few selected confidantes, rather than the Board of Commissioners, on who should be awarded contracts.

With Voter Registration expected to commence on December 17, 2022, up to March 2023, it is incumbent upon NEC to present to PPCC a qualified vendor to fulfill the biometric exercise.