THE state Audit Service called on the Transport Ministry to conduct an investigation over a call for tender last year for 84 pickup trucks, it emerged on Friday, after the specifications seemed to leave little room for many bidders.
A letter by the Audit service’s technical chief Andreas Hasapopulos, to the ministry’s permanent secretary Alecos Michaelides, published in daily Phileleftheros said the deadline by which the pickup trucks needed to be available – 18 weeks – may have deterred other bidders from applying.
Michaelides hit back questioning why the audit service – which was present at the tender board meeting last year – didn’t raise the issue at the time.
Additionally, he said the tender board, upon realising there was only one bid, decided they would only select it if the final price was cheaper than their estimates.
The price however turned out to be slightly more expensive and thus was turned down.
The bidder, Isuzu importer Loutsios & Sons, appealed the decision and the bid was granted to the company.
Michaelides went on to say that the state electromechanical services (EMS), which prepared the tender specifications, had conducted its own market research and received assurances from other potential suppliers that the 18-week timeframe would be adequate.
In a statement issued by the ministry, it specified that “a few days before the bids were submitted, at least three companies reassured they would apply for the tender.”
“I was reassured of this by the EMS and have no reason not to believe the chief of the department,” Michaelides said.
He also said the short timeframe mentioned indicated that the EMS needed the trucks immediately.
Nevertheless, Michaelides specified there were no differences in the opinions between the ministry and the audit service, but rather if there was an issue, it was between the audit service and the tender board.