Procurement rules on the other hand does not allow bias of any sort
Raging infernos from last week’s allegations has subsided between bid winners and losers, but its embers have left seething Ministry of Education (MoE) officials with a bad after-burn.
Post-clarifications all parties are quiet on the issue but the MoE seems to have taken the whole turn of events as a personal insult. Officials at the ministry are in discussions to blacklist Lhazin press, which means it will be ineligible for any printing works with the ministry.
The officials said Lhazin press’s statement has defamed the MoE in the eyes of the Bhutanese people.
Earlier one of the prominent parties, who alleged foul play to award tender worth about Nu 35mn to print text books, was the Lhazin press who alleged that the ministry awarded tenders to those people who printed outside Bhutan to get their work done.
MoE officials said that after all these false allegations which affected the ministry’s code of conduct and decorum in front of the public they are now very skeptical whether the ministry would award any similar contract or tender to Lhazin press in the future.
Procurement rules of the ministry of finance clearly states that a procuring agency should float quotations without any bias and should be done through a medium which can most effectively reach to the masses or various potential bidders.
Nevertheless, the chief administrative officer Karchung said “the ministry’s name has been stained due to this false statement, now we have to question ourselves whether to award any printing works to them in their future participations in any sort of tendering processes”.
He said the fact that the Chairman of the Bhutan Observer also the co-owner of Lhazin press, Tenzin who visited the MoE and dismissed the allegations made to the MoE by the Lhazin press, “is enough a reason to say Lhazin press was at fault for putting up allegations on the MoE”.
However in response, the Lhazin press proprietor Phuntsho Wangmo said “As long as Lhazin press fulfills all the criteria or specifications required in any sort of tendering processes then it shouldn’t be a problem because MoE cannot do that in any circumstances as the rules of procedures on tendering processes do not allow it”.
Earlier the Lhazin press proprietor said that the MoE should have reconsidered their tender document which was initially rejected because it did not have a proper bank Guarantee Letter. The guarantee letter that the Druk Punjab National Bank (DPNB) issued was mistakenly issued in the name of Bhutan Trade Link International (BTLI) which is a sister company of the Lhazin press.
The DPNB issued a second letter but it was rejected.
The Lhazin press proprietor said she had consulted experts on the tendering process and was of the view that MoE should have reconsidered the bid.
MoE officials said the Lhazin press’s replacement bank guarantee-letter was submitted one week after the tender was opened. The officials said they cross-checked the documents submitted by Lhazin press a multiple times.