Rushed bulletproof vest tender to cost state €1 million more

US and Estonian troops during a joint military training exercise. (Postimees/Scanpix)
2/13/2015 10:45 AM
Category: Politics

A need to buy bulletproof vests for the upcoming Sill military exercise cost the Defense Forces over a million euros more as the initial winner of the tender was disqualified and second place finisher withdrew its offer, leaving the finalization of the tender to the last minute.

The Defense Forces published a tender notice in April last year for the purchase of 10 million euros worth of bulletproof vests, with four companies making an offer by the September 18 deadline, Eesti Päevaleht reported.

After studying the offers for two months, the Defense Forces decided on November 20 to disqualify the lowest bid, NFM Productions, of Norway, handing the tender to C.P.E of Finland, which bid 1.5 million for the first of four parts of the tender.

C.P.E then retracted its bid, leaving a joint bid of 1.8 million euros by Bristol Trust and Galvi-Linda AS the winner. The Defense Forces had the right to fine C.P.E to the tune of the difference, which would add up to more than a million euros over the four years.

Toomas Villo, the head of Eurosec, the fourth bidder, said he suspects foul play, asking why was C.P.E not fined, adding that the company could have been in cohorts with Bristol Trust, with whom C.P.E has a history of cooperation.

Villo said there is a second twist in the story, namely Bristol Trust hired two former Defense Forces employees who oversaw tenders, with one joining the company as late as September last year, with Villo saying it would be naïve to think no inside information was used.

Ants Põldsam, the head of Bristol Trust, said both men asked for permission from the Defense Forces to join Bristol Trust, and both men were interviewed by the Internal Security Service.

The military exercise in question will take place over the first two weeks of May this year, with a record 12,000 to 13,000 soldiers taking part.

J.M. Laats

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