Despite receiving an eviction order to vacate the Hosea Kutako International Airport, United Kingdom-based company Menzies Aviation is forging ahead to have the Namibia Airports Company’s decision to award the ground handling contract to Paragon and partners reviewed.
The matter was before the High Court on Tuesday, and has since been postponed to 4 August for a status hearing.
According to Menzies’ director Ian van Rooyen, the NAC disqualified the company’s bid on baseless grounds, while ignoring important factors. The NAC awarded the multi-million-dollar contract to a joint venture between Paragon and Ethiopia Airlines.
In a letter directed to the company on 13 December 2021, Menzies was informed that their bid was ineligible for evaluation because they failed to initial all pages within their bid package. The bid also contained documents which were not commissioned by the Namibian police.
“The respondent acted arbitrarily when it considered the absence of an initial on the aforementioned pages to be a disqualifying factor,” stated Van Rooyen.
He said uninitialised documents were not that mandatory nor necessary for the consideration of the bid as they formed part of the company’s profile.
Menzies also claim that they were discriminated against on the basis that they are not Namibian, despite 51% of its shares being owned by locals.
Furthermore, they said the NAC awarded the tender to a joint venture that did not meet bidding requirements, and also violated the law by awarding a tender exceeding N$25 million.
This is against the stipulated threshold, suggesting that the Central Procurement Board of Namibia should have handled the bidding process.
The company, aggrieved by the NAC’s decision, approached the review panel. However, the review panel on 1 February dismissed their application, stating that Menzies failed to comply with mandatory requirements of the bidding procedure, as they failed to initial their pages and have some documents commissioned.
Thus, Menzies now wants the High Court to declare part of the Public Procurement Act, 15 of 2015, unconstitutional and of no force and effect, and an order declaring that the NAC as a Category 1 public entity is not permitted to award a tender that exceeds N$25 million.
Furthermore, it wants the court to review the NAC’s decision to disqualify them and award a tender to another bidder.
Menzies has been providing passenger and cargo handling services at the Hosea Kutako International Airport since February 2014. Its contract has been extended twice before. Their final contract came to an end on 30 June.
The NAC has noted its intent to oppose the review application.