Medical equipment supplier, ministry deny wheelchair tender process was vitiated
A wheelchair supply company has vehemently denied claims that it modified its products to become technically compliant with a government tender.
Last week, OK Ltd filed a judicial protest against the head of the Health Ministry’s Central Procurement and Supplies Unit, Mater Dei Hospital’s director of biomedical engineering Chris Attard Montalto, the ministry's permanent secretary and Europharma Ltd, claiming that the tender process was vitiated.
OK Ltd said that the tender had been awarded to an inferior bidder and alleged that Europharma’s wheelchairs were not technically compliant and needed alterations.
Both the Health Ministry and Europharma have now filed counter protests.
The latter said OK Ltd’s allegations were totally unfounded and were nothing more than the fabrications of a disappointed bidder who had placed fifth in the tender adjudication process.
Europharma said OK Ltd wanted to cast doubt on the process in the hopes of gaining some publicity.
The company also pointed out that the Public Contracts Review Board had rejected OK Ltd’s claims and that the latter had not appealed this decision.
Europharma also rejected claims that its wheelchairs were not compliant with the tender specifications. It insisted that it had been awarded the tender because its products were satisfactory and its bid was the cheapest. The company added that the tender process was transparent and all parties were subjected to an equal level of scrutiny.
In the second counter protest, the CPSU CEO, the Director of Biomedical Engineering, the Health Ministry and its Permanent Secretary argued that they were non-suited. They also claimed that OK Ltd’s allegations were untrue and unfounded. They also denied that Europharma’s wheelchairs were being modified to meet the tender specifications.
Both parties called on OK Ltd to cease its legal action and said they would hold the company responsible for any damages incurred.
Lawyers Antoine Cremona and Chiara Frendo signed Europharma’s counter protest.