4 January 2013

Namibia: Neckartal Still in Limbo

The multi-billion tender for the construction of the Neckartal Dam in the South, dragging now into its second year, will hopefully be finalised before the end of this financial year.

The closing date for the three shortlisted companies that have to send in their final bid is January 22.

The three shortlisted bidders are Salini SPA from Italy and two joint ventures - one by Vinci Construction, Grant Projects (France) and Orascon (Egypt), and another by Steanutti Stocks (South Africa), Consolidated Contractor Group SAL (Lebanon) and CMC de Ravenna.

"The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry will upon the closing of the tender evaluate the bids and then make a recommendation to the Tender Board. I hope that it will be finalised before or at the end of February," Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Ericah Shafudah, told The Namibian.

During the first round of the tender, corruption allegations were levelled against some permanent secretaries who form part of the Tender Board. They were accused of receiving kickbacks for pushing for the tender to be allocated either to the Chinese company China Henan International Corporation or the Italian company Impregilo SPA.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which investigated the claims, recently received back its docket from the Prosecutor General, requesting more information on some of the issues.

"We have obtained the relevant information and will still this month send the docket back to the Office of the Prosecutor General to make a decision whether to prosecute or not," ACC Director, Paulus Noa, said. In the meantime the Tender Board awarded 596 tenders to the tune of N$1,67 billion during 2012 of which the bulk was for construction tenders. Only 16 tenders were rejected.

A large number of exemptions to the tune of N$8,9 billion were also allocated, but according to Shafudah these include travelling allowances, subscription fees, utilities, transfers to SOE's and a few urgent projects that cropped up.

"We have decided that Ministries, Agencies and Offices have to submit three quotations with recommendations with regard to exemptions to the Tender Board where a decision will be taken. This process will still be faster than the normal tender procedures."

Some of the achievements reached by the Tender Board are the reviewing of the Tender Board Act as well as the reviewing of the changes to tender conditions with emphasis on the shareholding structure (51% : 49%) to promote local procurement and enterprise development.

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