Rivals cry foul as German firm wins Cameroon poll dealBy BISONG ETAHOBEN in Yaounde | Friday, April 20 2012 at 18:58
Cameroonian, French and South African companies are crying foul after a German firm won contract for the provision of Cameroon biometric election registration services.
Giesecke Cid won the deal valued at $15 million that was signed April 18, 2011 for the company by its Director General Hans Kung and for Cameroon by elections-organising outfit Elecam Director General Mohaman Sani Tanimou.
According to sources at Elecam, the German company along with a Canadian enterprise that had earlier tendered for the contract, had been disqualified and did not appear among the five shortlisted firms.
Isn’t it strange that a company that did not even merit a place on the shortlist has ended up winning?, asked a representative of the Cameroonian engineers who jointly tendered for the contract.
The turn-around, according to reliable sources at the elections-organising agency, who wished to remain anonymous because they were not authorised to speak for Elecam, followed pressure from the Presidency, after the arrival on April 15, 2012 of the German Parliamentary Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, Mr Ernst Burgdacher, who was accompanied by Mr Kung.
We have been reliably informed that less than 24 hours after the arrival of Mr Burgdacher, a meeting was held in the residence of the German Ambassador on April 16 between officials, resulting in the contract being awarded to the Germans,” a participant at the meeting told this reporter Friday.
The contract involves the supply of materials for biometric voter registration and the training of Cameroonians who would utilise the materials.
The Germans would also collaborate with the Cameroonian engineers whose outfit was on the shortlist of bids for the contract, to who the technology would be eventually transferred.
A spokesperson for one of the French companies, who requested anonymity because they were still in the race for the deal, said that Giesecke Cid did not even originally tender for the contract.
The only German company that tendered for the contract was Save It, but it was deemed not to have the requisite technology and was thus not shortlisted, he said.
However, sources close to Giesecke Cid insisted that Save It and Giesecke Cid were affiliate companies and had worked together on several projects in various parts of the world in the past.
“We did not canvass to get this contract. We also have our eyes and objectives focused on the biometric production of national identity cards for all Cameroonians,” an official of Giesecke Cid said.
Meanwhile, officials at Elecam said the Germans had promised to start and complete the work within three months once the necessary materials arrived in Cameroon.
“The Germans have given themselves seven months during which they would bring the necessary materials to Cameroon, start and finish the biometric registration,” the Elecam official revealed.
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