NAC, Menzies struggle continues

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NAC, Menzies struggle continues

The Namibia Airports Company has filed a notice in the High Court, asking for leave to petition the Supreme Court over the former’s decision to grant Menzies Aviation leeway to grill them over the bidding process for the multi-million-dollar ground handling tender at Hosea Kutako International Airport. 

Last month, High Court judge Eileen Rakow said Menzies had raised a significant question that NAC needs to answer, whether the uninitialised financial documents of Paragon which were uploaded on 1 May 2022 to the High Court’s e-justice were the same ones that the company submitted to NAC for tendering purposes, and if so, whether Paragon and NAC acted in cahoots to upload an altered version after the defect was pointed out by Menzies.

Rakow said the issue of uninitialised documents was one of the reasons furnished by NAC on why it disqualified Menzies during the bidding process. 

She further said Menzies’ case was based on credible evidence, and it was simply not an abuse. Thus, the court cannot determine the review application without oral evidence.

In this ongoing battle, Menzies has accused NAC of favouring the joint venture between Paragon and JV Ethiopian Airlines during the tendering process despite discrepancies, including forgery, in their tender application.

The joint venture between Paragon Investment and JV Ethiopia was awarded the ground handling tender by NAC in December 2021, resulting in Menzies losing a tender they have had since 2014.

In their notice of appeal, NAC is claiming that the court erred when it referred the matter for oral evidence.

Among other reasons provided, the company claims that the court failed to consider that all the bid documents submitted by the joint venture were initialled, and such a fact has been confirmed under oath by all the members of the Bid Evaluation Committee. 

Furthermore, all questions relating to the joint venture, ground handling equipment, bid scoring, and information on subcontractors do not need to be referred for oral evidence.

It is NAC’s fervent stance that the court erred when it stated that Menzies’ application for referral of oral evidence was based on credible evidence and was not an abuse of court processes by an unscrupulous litigant. 

The court has scheduled 6 June for the hearing, and has ordered the parties to file their heads of argument on or before 3 June. 

 The review application filed by Menzies is currently on hold, while the court deals with the leave to appeal application. 

In the review application, Menzies wants the court to declare that NAC is a category one public entity and in terms of the law, may not handle a bidding process of a tender that exceeds N$25 million. 

According to Menzies, the tender handled by NAC and awarded to the joint venture exceeds the threshold, suggesting the Central Procurement Board of Namibia should have handled the bidding process.

The company also wants the court to review and set aside NAC’s decision to declare its bid invalid because it failed to initial all its pages and certify its registration documents. Furthermore, to set aside NAC’s decision to award the joint venture the tender and disqualify it.

Apart from the decisions to be reviewed, Menzies wants section 4(2) of the Public Procurement Act declared unconstitutional.