In May this year, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) awarded a S$6 million tender to a Singapore-based electronics manufacturing company PCI Ltd to supply 300,000 contract tracing dongles, called TraceTogether Tokens, needed for the government’s COVID-19 contract-tracing strategy. This works out to about S$20 per unit.
A government notice noted that the tender was awarded on 14 May.
In response to enquiries from Reuters, GovTech said that it has contracted PCI manufacture an initial batch of the tokens adding that it will tender for the design, manufacturing and delivery of future batches.
If the tokens are rolled out to all 5.7 million Singapore residents, PCI could score a contract worth more than S$110 million, according to Reuters.
In a previous TOC report, we noted that there was no open tender on the TraceTogether Token project that could be found on the government procurement website GeBiz based on a search done on 12 June at 4.25pm.
This is notable given that all government procurement with an estimated value of above S$90,000 are required to undergo tendering procedures, which may entail an Open Tender, a Selective Tender, or a Limited Tender.
What is even more interesting, however, is that the director of GovTech, Dominic Chan Jin Hou, was a former Senior Vice President of Operations at PCI from July 2014 to September 2018. In fact, he worked with PCI for over 15 years in various roles.
Mr Tan then left PCI to join GovTech as its director in 2018 and has been with the government agency since.
TOC has reached out to GovTech via email at 2pm today (24 July) on the question of a possible conflict of interest in this case and if Mr Chan has any say in awarding the multi-million dollar tender to a preferred contractor.
GovTech said that the award of the tender to PCI was made by an evaluation committee made up of four members, including Mr Chan, though he did not chair the committee. Mr Chan was appointed to the committee for his “domain knowledge and prior experience in contract design manufacturing,” said GovTech.
The agency added that Mr Chan’s previous employment at PCI was duly considered during the process of appointing him to the evaluation committee and it was found that there was no conflict of interest.
It said, “It had been assessed that Mr Chan had no conflict of interest and his past involvement with the contract design manufacturing sector would not affect his performance as a member of the EC.”