The Ministry of Works and Transport obtained tender exemption after it hijacked a N$240 million Eros runway project from the National Airports Company despite previous blunders when the Ministry awarded runway tenders of Walvisbay and Katima Mulilo airports to novice companies which cost government millions of dollars to repair
By Confidente Reporter
THE Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Willem Goeiemann is at the centre of a storm after he allegedly tried to use the “country’s highest office” to bulldoze a N$240 million Eros Airport Runway Rehabilitation job without going to tender a move that angered the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) management.
Goeiemann however insists the “country’s highest office” he was referring to is the security offices and not the President’s Office.
Confidente is reliably informed that Goeiemann’s actions generated into a war of words between him and the NAC senior management which felt the permanent secretary was interfering in their scope of work.
According to documents at hand on October 26 2016, the NAC through its Chief Executive Officer, Tamer El-Kallawi wrote a strongly-worded letter to Goeiemann informing him in no uncertain terms that the parastatal will not allow him to run its projects. The letter was a response to communication, Goeiemann had sent to NAC on September 28 requesting terms of reference for the Eros Airport runway rehabilitation project.
“Kindly be advised that we shall not accede to your request to run NAC projects on our behalf. We shall implement all capital projects by appointing our own consultants and contractors. We are grateful and thankful that a financial provision was made and we shall implement the project with immediate effect. We are mandated by the applicable legislation as the sole agent to implement NAC project. The board will not grant Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) permission to implement NAC projects, MWT is not appointed as an agent by the board. We will administer and implement the project ourselves,” El-Kallawi wrote to Goeiemann.
He added that the High Court judgement on the upgrade and expansion of the Hosea Kutako International Airport which Government lost earlier this year in a legal battle against a Chinese construction company over the cancellation of the N$7 billion tender pointed out that NAC is the only agent tasked to implement all airports projects in the country.
President Hage Geingob had ordered the cancellation of the airport tender in December 2015, which led to the winning bidder, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, to challenge the decision in the High Court on 11 February 2016.
“This stance is also confirmed by the external auditor’s report findings. The adjudication and award process shall be in terms of the said applicable legislation governing NAC. Please be advised that this stance by NAC is also due to past experience with MWT project in Walvis Bay and Mpacha (Katima Mulilo) airports. The construction of runways is a highly specialised operation for which NAC carries a singular responsibility to meet NCAA (DCA) and ICAO requirements,” El-Kallawi added. In response to El-Kallawi’s strongly-worded letter, Goeiemann claimed he was working under instruction from the “country’s highest office.” “The involvement of the Ministry of Works and Transport in the rehabilitation of Eros runway was purely from the instruction of the country’s highest office due to dilapidated conditions of the runway, and is the one the Head of state normally used when travelling (sic).
“…The Ministry of Works and Transport is the custodian of all national transportations infrastructures. The NAC Board of Directors is appointed by Minister of Works and Transport, therefore the Ministry cannot be appointed by the NAC board. The Ministry of Works and Transport is no way disputing that NAC is mandated to implement its projects however, when NAC is leaving the national assets to dilapidated to an extend where the users are no longer safe to use them, the Ministry shall be compelled to intervene. Furthermore treasury is no longer allowing the ministry to transfer the funds to the agencies but to ensure that all funds given to the ministry are awarded through national tender board.” In his September 28 letter, to El- Kallawi, Goeiemann, had also said the Eros Runway rehabilitation project was a Harambee Prosperity Plan project that should be implemented urgently.
“Please be advised that the Ministry of Works and Transport has procured funding to pay for consultancy services for detailed designing, tender documentation and procurement phase of this
project inclusive of application of a holding down slurry seal layer during this phase.
“Eros Runway Rehabilitation is a Harambee Prosperity Plan project whose implementation the ministry would like to expedite. To this end your good office is kindly requested to provide the ministry the terms of reference for the rehabilitation works to be used to appoint a consultant.”
The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Frans Kapofi, said he had not seen any instruction from the “highest office” ordering the Ministry of Works to urgently upgrade the runway at Eros Airport or bypass tender regulations.
“I haven’t seen that letter with such instructions. The President will not tell people that they should pick certain contractors. Yes the runway is bumpy it’s like a gravel road and the President might have pointed that out but he will never be involved in such projects.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015