The Role of the Independent Procurement Review Panel (IPRP)
The Independent Procurement Review Panel (IPRP) was established by Section 20 of the NPPA Act 2004 for the purpose of conducting independent administrative reviews on complaints and challenges on award decisions by aggrieved bidders in the procurement transaction. Section 63(1) of the NPPA Act 2004 and Regulation 157 of the Public Procurement Regulation of 2006 provides that “a prospective bidder or actual bidder that claims to have suffered or that is likely to suffer loss or injury due to breach of a duty imposed on the procuring entity by this Act, its implementing regulations and the bidding document, may seek redress in accordance with the Act, at any stage of the procurement proceedings”.
The aggrieved bidder may submit a complaint in writing to the Head of the procuring entity, unless a contract has already been awarded. The Application for review may be submitted to the IPRP at first instance where a contract has already been awarded, or the Head of the procuring entity has failed to issue a decision within ten working days of the date of receipt of the application for review, or the bidder wishes to appeal against the decision of the Head of the procuring entity.
Aggrieved bidders should submit their complaint in writing within ten working days to the IPRP for review starting with the date when the bidder became aware of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, or the date the head of the procuring entity took a decision or failed to issue a decision. In order for a complaint to be considered by the IPRP, the application shall be accompanied by an administrative fee of Two million Leones in accordance with the Regulations. The complaint letter should contain detailed information on the procurement proceedings, details of the provisions of the law, regulations or other instruments which have been breached, including the date and names of responsible officers, and any available documentary or other evidence to authenticate the complaint.
A complaint cannot be made verbatim or through word of mouth. It has been noted that most often, some bidders make their grievances known only verbally without following the legal procedures. That in itself is a breach of the Regulations, in which case neither the Head of Entity nor the IPRP could consider such a complaint as valid. Also a complaint that is not accompanied by the administrative fee could not be reviewed. This fee is levied to forestall unsubstantiated allegations from bidder and contractors. A complaint can be dismissed by the IPRP if the complainant failed to comply with the stated rules or makes allegations that do not contain detailed legal and factual statements.