Lenovo says Giftland not authorized agent

-laptop tender re-issued

Lenovo has confirmed to the Secretariat of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project that neither Giftland OfficeMax nor its partner Hong Kong Dianshijin (HK DS) is an authorized Lenovo agent in Guyana or in the Central America and Caribbean region.

In a press release issued yesterday, Labour Minister Manzoor Nadir said that the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Secretariat  on Thursday  received correspondence from Domingo Alonso, the Lenovo Territory Manager for Central America and the Caribbean, who indicated that neither of the two companies is an authorized reseller or distributor of Lenovo products in Guyana or in any country within the region.

Nadir, who has ministerial responsibility for the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) project, during a press conference on Tuesday, had promised to check with Lenovo on the authenticity of two certificates submitted by Giftland indicating that its Laptop supplier HK DS was an authorized Lenovo agent.

“I also certify that neither Giftland OfficeMax nor HK DS have any contracts or agreements with Lenovo that would state that they were authorized by Lenovo to participate in the OLPF or any other business in the name of Lenovo in the Central America and Caribbean region,” Alonso was quoted as saying. A copy of the correspondence sent to the OLPF Secretariat was sent to this newspaper.

Contacted yesterday for comment, President of Giftland OfficeMax Roy Beepat expressed surprise at Alonso’s statement and said that his company will now need confirmation from the distributor Hong Kong Dianshijin (HK DS), the company with which Giftland made the deal.  “I’m quite shocked because their [Alonso’s] statement seems definitive,” Beepat said. According to him, HK DS had promised to provide him with the original certificates from Beijing.

Following cabinet’s decision to quash the original tender for the supply of computers for the OLPF, Beepat on Monday charged that Cabinet had been misinformed by the OLPF project manager Sesh Sukhdeo. Beepat said that his company had submitted a bid that was compliant.  However, Nadir dismissed Beepat’s statements and said that GIftland had submitted a fake sample and had failed to meet criteria established concerning the provision of warranty for the products.

Beepat then said that there appeared to be “ad hoc” adjustments to the original requirements in the first tender for the supply of computers for the project and called on Nadir to conduct an independent probe into the matter. He also said that his company never contended that the laptop was a Lenovo USA design. “We went through HK DS a subcontracted seller and manufacturer for Lenovo China for the product,” he said.

However, Alonso, in his recent correspondence to the OLPF Secretariat , said that after Lenovo was informed about the offer made in the name of Lenovo in response to the OLPF it “reached out to both office of the OLPF and Giftland OfficeMax informing them that Lenovo did not authorize any offer”. “We also informed both parties that the sample products that were provided are not part of our current Lenovo product portfolio and are not recognized by our product teams. In turn, this offer is not supported or recognized by Lenovo,” he said.

Meanwhile, the OLPF office, in a separate release, said that the retender for the supply of computers for the OLPF will be available over the weekend on www.eprocure.gov.gy.

The documents can also be requested via email from info@olpf.gov.gy.

“This tender was formulated following a series of high-level, intensive consultations with a wide range of Information and Communication Technology suppliers and industry experts from across the country,” the release said.

Under the OLPF, the government plans to distribute 90,000 computers to poor families over the next two years.

The government has said that 50,000 units are supposed to be distributed this year. Controversy has swirled around the project since its launch in January.

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