WINDHOEK - The Roads Authority (RA) has vehemently denied any charges of corruption or fraud regarding the construction of multi-million-dollar gravel access roads in the Omusati and Ohangwena regions.
The strong denial from the RA comes after a letter circulating on social media supposedly penned by a ‘concerned engineer in the Roads Authority’ accused the organisation of awarding three access road contracts to the tune of N$84 million, charging that the jobs could actually be completed for N$64 million.
“We would like to make it categorically clear that submitting a bid with the lowest price as alleged was not the only determining factor when evaluation of these tenders was done. A bidder must first and foremost meet all requirements set out in the bidding document before they will be evaluated on their price,” the RA said in a statement issued by its CEO Conrad Lutombi.
“Bidders who meet all technical requirements and provide the necessary documentary proof as required, are ranked from lowest to highest priced and the lowest one from that pool is then selected as the successful bidder.”
The company also gave assurance that all received bid documents are kept in a secured place “with no opportunity for interference from third parties”.
Lutombi admitted that the RA had been alerted to the social media message titled “RA kickbacks”, claiming unfair practices regarding the awarding of tenders for the construction of the access roads.
According to Lutombi, the RA conducted all its procurement processes of the tenders in a fair, ethical, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective manner, in full compliance with the Public Procurement Act, 2015 and exemption as was granted by the minister of finance Calle Schlettwein.
The RA CEO pointed out that the organisation was exempted from section 7(3) of the Procurement Act, which enabled its Ad-Hoc Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) to carry out their evaluation for a period not exceeding 60 days.
“Furthermore, these tenders where subjected to the strict scrutiny and consideration of the KfW Germany as co- financier,” Lutombi stated. The RA’s Procurement Process and Procedures allow for those with concerns, in relation to the awarding of tenders, to appeal and have their cases heard by a Review Panel appointed by the Ministry of Finance. In this particular case, a complaint was lodged for appeal and its hearing was held on Friday, 16 January 2020. The RA is still awaiting the outcome from the Review Panel before contracts will be entered into with the successful bidders for the construction of the access roads.
“Thus, the RA would like to put it on record that the claims made in that particular message and the defamation against Mr Lazarus Kunugab, Senior Engineer in the RA are malicious and devoid of any truth.”
In the social media message, the alleged ‘concerned engineer’ named three local companies who he charged are owned by close friends and business partners of a senior engineer in the RA’s construction department.
The message accused the RA’s senior engineer of ensuring that the three local companies benefit, despite being the most expensive bidders by correcting faulty tender documents and tampering with other contractors’ documents to disqualify them.
“These contractors have guaranteed to pay him (the senior engineer) N$15 million over a period of 15 months, so he can pay off his cohorts in the RA, that made this possible,” the alleged source claimed in his letter.
2020-01-22 07:09:55 | 30 days ago