Government through Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has finally awarded the 100 kilometre pipeline to Khato Civils on the 4th of July this year.
Both the Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Khato Holdings, came out with guns blazing dismissing allegations that they were in cahoots with President Mokgweetsi Masisi and were the main funders of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) campaign for the 2019 general elections.
Sources within government have alleged that Khato Civils is the one that conceptualized the project and later awarded the tender on direct appointment.
In an interview with this publication Group Chief Executive Officer of Khato Holdings Mongezi Mnyani vehemently denied that they were awarded the tender on direct appointment. "We have never at any stage conceptualized any project and it is very much obscured that certain individuals can credit a private company to influence how a government project has to be undertaken," he responded.
Mnyani said that they responded to a public tender advertisement which was flouted in March 2018 which was for the design and construction of approximately 100 km and associated works from Masama wellfield to Mmamashia water treatment plant.
On why they are the designers and contractors of the project, Mnyani revealed that they were informed that the project is an emergency pipeline and has to be implemented within 12 months. "The main reason was that the NSC 2.2 project was delayed and therefore this project will assist in dealing with the current crisis of water in Greater Gaborone," he reasoned.
The 100 km pipeline project was rejected by cabinet last year and was revived this year and some within government said that this was done though there was no budget for the project. "This project was conceptualized before Masisi became a president and how can he influence it to be given to us when he doesn't even know us," fumed Khato Holding Chairman Simbi Phiri.
Highly placed sources within government enclave have revealed that Khato Civils has always been the favorite to win the tender as Phiri is a close associate of President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Phiri rebutted the allegations that he is a close associate of President Masisi and that he is funding the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 2014 elections campaign.
"I don't know President Masisi and have never met him in person and if I can claim to know him I would have smoked something very strong," he said.
Phiri said that he only knows former President Ian Khama whom he has met at his office twice and that he won't claim to know him in personally.
The Malawian born businessman said that though his maternal relatives who originate from Tonota are die hard BDP members he has never funded the party.
The first project that Khato did in Botswana is the refurbishment of the NSC 1 pump stations in Selibe Phikwe and 100 km will be their first biggest project in Botswana.
The company is currently building a classroom block for reception class at Letsibogo Primary School in Mmadinare and this has raised eyebrows with some accusing the company of trying to tilt the favour towards their side.
Mnyani said that the construction of the classroom is part of their Corporate Social Responsibility and has nothing to do with trying to win more tenders from government.
"Such statements that are directed to Khato Civils are misleading and devoid of the truth and once more shows that there are individuals who have ulterior motives to scandalize and bring Khato Civils name into disrepute," said worried Mnyani.
But who wants to scandalize you?
Mnyani revealed the water projects industry is very dirty with some companies who have been dominating the industry trying to block the upcoming black owned companies.
He said some government officials are in the pockets of these multinational companies and ensures that black owned companies don't get mega tenders.
"Our critics thrive on the narrow-minded idea that a black owned company is incapable of delivering international quality works, which they believe can only be delivered by companies which are owned by non-blacks," he hit out.
He said there are certain companies in Botswana which has been trying to sabotage them to enter Botswana market and were using certain senior government officials and ministers to fabricate stories about Khato Civils.
"We know for a facft that there are companies who are known to us that have been awarded many contracts in Botswana and no one has ever questioned such tenders and how they were awarded. Most of these projects were not subjected to an open tender process but straight appointment without any competitive bidding process," revealed Mnyani.