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RA tender threshold ruling not ready

2023-12-01  Roland Routh

RA tender threshold ruling not ready

The ruling in the matter between the Roads Authority (RA) and the Public Procurement Review Panel over the threshold of tenders handled by them is not ready.

Windhoek High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo postponed the matter yesterday to 6 February next year.

RA took the panel to court after it decided without being asked to cancel three tarred road maintenance tenders because the value is apparently more than the threshold the company is allowed to award. 

According to the panel, the RA is not allowed to award tenders in excess of N$35 million – and the tender in question exceeds this. RA, on the other hand, argued that while the tender, in its totality, exceeds this threshold, the tenders are divided into different contracts, which makes it within the threshold. 

In a founding affidavit by RA CEO Conrad Lutombi, he states that all contracts are within the prescribed contract limit. 

According to him, although the contracts were advertised under one bidding process, they remain individual contracts and cannot be deemed to be one contract amount. 

“It does follow that the second respondent (panel) erred when they took the collective value of the contracts within the bidding process to reach a conclusion that the applicant had procured above its threshold,” Lutombi stated. 

The RA is adamant that the individual tenders do not exceed the N$35 million threshold, as they have been divided into several sub-tenders, with an average value of about N$10 million each.  

In June, the review panel concluded that the individual value of the five tenders, as advertised by RA in September 2021, were above the N$35 million public entities threshold; thus, they needed to go through the Central Procurement Board of Namibia.

“I further assert that advertising the contracts in one bidding process is simply to enhance the efficiency and save cost relating to the bidding process for both applicant and bidders alike,” said Lutombi.

He said it would have been impractical to advertise all 39 individual bidding processes.

Thus, RA wants the court to review and set aside the review panel’s decision, as it misdirected itself with costs of one instructed and one instructing counsel.

The Review Panel is opposing the application, and it is represented by Ndirirau Kaurivi, while Lau Tom Construction, who is also opposing the application, is represented by Henry Shimutwikeni. 

The RA is represented by Francois Bangamwabo.

The review panel’s decision resulted from a review application by companies that were unsuccessful with their bids for the lucrative tenders.

The companies are Lau Tom Constructions, Palladium Civil Engineering, Erongo Quarry and Civil Works and Khan Trading. 

The RA received over 800 bids for the five tenders, of which 39 companies were successful. 

The tenders are for Windhoek, Oshakati, Keetmanshoop, Otjiwarongo and Rundu areas.

According to the court documents, the total value of the Windhoek tender is N$70.1 million, Keetmanshoop is N$62.6 million, Otjiwarongo is N$72.8 million and Oshakati is worth N$60.1 million.

The tender for Rundu is the highest, with a value of N$143.2 million. 

The companies will maintain the tarred roads for a period of 36 months.


2023-12-01  Roland Routh

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