Enterprise Estonia suspected of biased public procurement29.05.2012, 11:01
Competitors claim that the recent public tender announced by Enterprise Estonia to buy high-speed printers is designed to ensure that the contract goes to Overall, official distributor of Canon products, writes Äripäev.
The tender’s fiercest critic is Kalev Kalma who distributes Konica Minolta printers.
Kalma says that according to tender requirements, the printers must run on Uniflow software, have a Canon MEAP license and an Estonian-language control panel.
“These can be offered only by Overall that sells Canon products,” says Kalma.
Also local distributors of Xerox and Kulbert Kyocera agree that the tender requirements leave no room for competitors.
They say that since the winner is already known, there is no point in wasting time and do not plan to bid for the contract.
Kalma says that they have already asked Enterprise Estonia to give up the requirement of having the Uniflow system in the printer, but the proposal was rejected.
“I understand that the state spent a lot of money in the past buying Uniflow license and is not willing to replace it yet,” he adds.
At the same time Marko Arula, head of Enterprise Estonia’s IT division, says that Uniflow was a natural requirement because Enteprise Estonia is already using it and has the necessary software licenses and compatible card readers.
“If we were to buy a different software system it would be waste of money and other resources. In addition, we are replacing only three printers, not all our printers,” said Arula.
He emphasises that Enterprise Estonia requires only compatibility with Uniflow software and bidders are not required to have the license themselves.
Arula adds that the requirement that the printers have Estonian-language touch screen is something that rules out outside bidders.
“This is something that even the Canon distributor in Holland cannot offer, only Overall,” he adds.
Märt Haamer, CEO of Overall, disputes the claims that the 25,000 euro tender is favouring his company.
He says that the fact that Overall is the only licensed reseller of Uniflow software in Estonia is not important.
Haamer also adds that contrary to popular belief, Overall has not been winning many tenders in Estonia.
“We have never based our tender bids on cheapest price and equipment sale, but are focusing on the service quality instead,” he said.