Procurement tribunal rules ID card, passport tender illegal

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chile's public procurement tribunal has determined that the tender for modernizing national ID cards and passports, originally awarded to Spanish IT firm Indra in July 2010, was "illegal and arbitrary," local newspapers reported.

According to the tribunal, Indra failed to submit the required guarantee on time to be eligible for the US$385mn civil registry contract. The ruling annuls the awarded contract and calls for a new procurement process.

The court has allowed preliminary bidders Sice Agencia Chile, Bundesdruckerei GMBH, Sonda and Sagem Sécurité (now called Morpho), to take part in the new tender.

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Questioning the July award, Morpho and Sonda took the case to the tribunal, which has now established that Indra cannot take part in the new bidding process.

"What happened in this tender was absolutely unacceptable, and now it has been corrected," said Tomás Aylwin, Morpho's lawyer.

According to Morpho, there were several variances in the tender's original rules that played to Indra's benefit. At end-2010, the government asked for the resignation of then-civil registry head Christián Behm due to alleged irregularities in the tender process.

Indra said it will accept the court's decision but will study the situation to try to reverse the ruling.

"Indra has high levels of quality and service, and it was the company that received the best global, technical and economic results during the bidding process to develop and implement the new electronic ID cards," an Indra said in statement to local newspaper Diario Financiero.