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Latvian regulators put brakes on 4×4 contract

18 January 2019
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An AM General Humvee and a Sisu Auto GTP under evaluation in Latvia in May 2018. Source: Latvian MoD

The Latvian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been ordered to halt the EUR200 million (USD228 million) procurement of the Finnish-built Sisu Auto GTP for its long-running 4×4 tactical vehicle requirement following formal protests by two contractors in December 2018.

Latvia’s Procurement Monitoring Bureau, which oversees government procurement for the Ministry of Finance, issued a detailed 31-page report on 16 January that effectively prohibited the MoD from concluding an agreement with Sisu Auto, citing “irregularities” in the tender process.

According to the bureau’s decision, the MoD’s procurement committee now has three months “to eliminate the irregularities” identified in its reassessment of the negotiated procedure.

“The procurement [committee] needs to carry out a detailed analysis to understand how to prevent deficiencies,” a Latvian MoD spokesperson told Jane’s . “The procurement [committee] will analyse the decision taken by the Procurement Monitoring Bureau and decide on further action.”

The Latvian MoD downselected four vehicles for its 4×4 tactical vehicle requirement in May 2018: AM General’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee), Otokar’s Cobra, Paramount Group’s Marauder (although photos suggested this was actually a Plasan Sand Cat), and the Sisu Auto GTP.

The vehicles were tested in Latvia soon afterwards, and in December local media reported that the GTP 4×4 had been selected.

Both AM General and Paramount Group protested the decision to award Sisu Auto the 4×4 contract, with both companies arguing that the tender was not carried out correctly and that unknown evaluation methodologies were used after the submission of tenders, putting the contractors at a disadvantage.

“The development of such criteria is contrary to the principle of openness,” AM General stated in it protest. “The procurement [committee] had the opportunity to examine all the bidders’ bids and then adjust the criteria to one of them, if desired.”

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