SENA, the Colombian government’s education agency, suspended a bidding process to choose a provider of technology support services for its operations across the country amid allegations of irregularities.
SENA cited two reasons for canceling the bidding process: concerns over transparency in the procurement process and the need to comply with new rules regarding IT architecture at its facilities.
Several bidders alleged that the procurement process was rigged in favor of a small number of participants, pointing to the tender notification’s extensive list of requirements, which they claimed claimed could only be met by a few service providers.
The agency dismissed allegations of irregularities, however, saying it will re-launch the bidding process after modifying the text of the tender notice.
SENA is tasked with boosting Colombia’s technology talent pool by providing skills training to young graduates trying to launch a career in innovative sectors.
Telefónica Colombia, the current service provider, participated in the original bidding process. Mexican telco Claro chose to withdraw from the process, citing a lack of time and guarantees that its service would be transitioned smoothly.
According to local media, the value of the contract has increased four times in the past decade. In 2012, the same contract was awarded for 25 billion Colombian pesos (US$62 million).