Tallinn Administrative Court rejects SIG Sauer complaint in firearms tender

Test shooting of automatic firearms in the procurement process. March 2018.
Test shooting of automatic firearms in the procurement process. March 2018. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Tallinn Administrative Court on Friday rejected a complaint by arms manufacturer SIG Sauer, with which the company had applied for the annulment of a competitor's offer in the procurement of automatic firearms for Estonia's defense and security services. The court also suspended any agreement until the final court decision enters into force.

The deadline for SIG Sauer to appeal the ruling is May 13.

The Estonian Centre for Defence Investment is looking to procure new automatic rifles for the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) through a framework agreement. Three offers, one by Lewis Machine & Tool, one by SIG Sauer, and one by Heckler & Koch, were deemed suitable, with the first of the three winning the tender.

SIG Sauer contested the decision before a review committee to declare Lewis Machine & Tool's bid successful and as having met the requirements. The committee ruled against SIG Sauer in a decision that entered into force on Jan. 17 this year.

The company took the matter to court, which ruled that "there is no doubt that a decision that has already entered into force can no longer be challenged and its content is binding for the parties to the proceedings," BNS reported.

SIG Sauer then filed with the Tallinn Administrative court to have the decisions of both the Centre for Defence Investment as well as the review committee annulled. According to the company, the tender was illegitimate as verification took place in breach of the terms and conditions of the procurement documents. The court rejected the complaint on May 3, SIG Sauer now has until May 13 to appeal the ruling.

According to the planned tender agreement, the Centre for Defence Investment is to buy approximately 11,000 automatic firearms over the period 2019-2021, with an option for additional purchases of up to 18,000 automatic rifles down to 2024, it is reported.

Formed in 1976 as a partnership of SIG (Schweizerische Inustrie Gesellschaft) of Switzerland and JP Sauer & Sohn (Germany), SIG Sauer Gmbh sold its firearms subsidiary to L&O Holdings of Germany in 2000, when it was renamed Swiss Arms (a SIG Sauer Gmbh still remains).

A separate company was founded in the US in 1985 and renamed SIG Sauer Inc. in 2007; the Swiss and US SIG Sauer companies have been organisationally separate since 2000; it is the latter which has been involved in the disputed Centre for Defence Investment procurement.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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