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N$1.3 billion pharmaceutical tender cancelled

2024-05-29  Maria Sheya

N$1.3 billion pharmaceutical tender cancelled

The Windhoek High Court on Friday cancelled a N$1.3 billion tender to procure medicines for the health ministry, which was awarded to Cospharm Investment (Pty) Ltd, a company whose majority shareholding belongs to a five-year-old.

Judge Shafimana Ueitele set aside the decision of the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) taken on 9 May 2023 and 12 May 2023 to grant the reconsideration applications of Cospharm, Broad Pharama, Econo Investments and Erongo Med, and order the Bid Evaluation Committee to re-evaluate their bids. He further set aside the decision of CPBN on the award on 3 August 2023, after the re-evaluation was done.

Businessman Shapwa Kanyama, through his company Africure Pharmaceutical, took the CPBN, Cospharm  and other bidders to court after his company’s award of N$123 million was cut to N$45 million as a result of the re-evaluation.

This reduction saw Cospharm, which was an unsuccessful bidder during the first notice of selection, being awarded N$1.3 billion after the re-evaluation.

Cospharm was disqualified for failing to initial next to an overwritten mistake in its bid, and for not responding to the CPBN’s enquiries.

Kanyama sought an order setting aside the award to Cospharm and directing CPBN to stick to the first selection award issued on 26 April 2023. He said CPBN acted unlawfully, taking away the company’s two-thirds of the award without any prior notice, or affording them an opportunity to make presentations. He said the re-consideration, which took place in secret, ended up adversely affecting other bidders.

In his ruling, Ueitele said the CPBN failed to afford Africure an opportunity to be heard before it compiled the second notice of selection, and should have informed the company of the re-consideration applications. “The board’s failure to inform the applicant and afford it an opportunity to be heard in respect of re-consideration applications amounts to a failure to comply with the procedural fairness obligations outlined in Article 18 of the Constitution, and thus renders the re-consideration exercise invalid, and it must for that reason be set aside,” he Ueitele.

Ueitele then ordered Cospharm and the CPBN to jointly bear the cost of the suit.

 -mamamkali@nepc.com.na 


2024-05-29  Maria Sheya

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