Watchdog stops Latvian Defense Ministry buying €200m worth of 4x4 vehicles

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The Procurement Monitoring Bureau (IUB), Latvia's procurement watchdog, has banned the Defense Ministry from signing a €200m agreement on purchase of four-by-four armored vehicles with Finnish company Oy Sisu Auto Ab, according to the watchdog's website.

Two bidders – South African company Paramount International Marketing and US AM General LLC had filed complains about the outcome of the tender.

The Defense Ministry is banned from signing an agreement with the winner of the negotiations procedure and lift the decision of the procurement commission on the result of the negotiations procedure. The Defense Ministry in three months has to eliminate the shortcomings and repeatedly evaluate all bids.

The IUB decision can be appealed at the administrative district court in a month.

According to the procurement watchdog, the Defense Ministry has committed number of violations in the procurement procedure, failing to fully reflect its needs in documentation and amending tender requirements.

In particular, the watchdog concluded that, inter alia, there were methodological discrepancies into how the Defense Ministry chose the winning vehicles. 

As reported, the National Armed Forces and the procurement committee tested the following vehicles: GTP 4x4 offered by Sisu Auto, Humwee vehicles offered by the U.S. company AM General, South African company Paramount Group's vehicles Marauder LAV, and Turkish company Otokar's vehicles Cobra.

According to LETA's sources at the Defense Ministry, some companies did not meet some of the procurement requirements. For instance, the South African company's vehicles were unable to meet some of the Armed Forces' requirements during the tests.

Judging from information available on the Internet, Sisu Auto's vehicles Sisu E13TP are used by the Finnish, Lithuanian and Estonian armed forces. The most popular Sisu Auto vehicle, Patria Pasi is used, for instance, by the armed forces of Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ghana, Norway, Sweden, as well as in UN peacekeeping operations.

The Defense Ministry originally said that it was planning to sign a ten-year contract with the winning bidder. The ministry explained that the vehicles would substantially improve the National Armed Forces' mobility, and that most of the tactical vehicles at the Armed Forces at the moment were 20 years old and older.

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