By Elvis Muraranganda
TAXPAYERS will always end up paying for tender irregularities and corruption if procurement rules are not followed, politicians presented as one of the warnings to public institutions following a recent Supreme Court ruling scrapping a N$7 billion airport tender.
According to opposition leaders, whenever public tenders are viewed as cash cows, the State will be dragged to court as rules and processes will be totally disregarded and quashed.
They were commenting specifically on the now-withdrawn tender to do upgrades to the Hosea Kutako International Airport initially given to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC).
The politicians were mainly drawing lessons from the case and issued a strong warning to all parastatals and other public offices.
In his judgement on the case, Supreme Court Judge Dave Smuts stressed that the provisions of the Tender Board Act had not been followed. He said it is important that they are followed for valid procurement in capital construction projects involving the Government.
“It is also clear from the affidavit by the Minister of Finance that Treasury approval had also not been granted,” Smuts mentioned.
“The failure to follow the procedures set out in the Tender Board Act is fatal to the validity of an award made by the Ministry or its Permanent Secretary.”
Smuts was supported by Chief Justice Peter Shivute and judge of appeal Sylvester Mainga on the bench.
President Hage Geingob instructed the halting and ultimate cancellation after allegations of irregularities; corruption and bribery emerged in the allocation process.
Legal pundits have it that the Supreme Court ruling is slap in the face of Attorney General Sacky Shanghala who reportedly had in past advised Government to settle out of court with Anhui.
However, following the ruling this week, Namibians took to social media praising Geingob and his administration for remaining steadfast in the decision to withdraw the tender and for the process to be started from scratch. Also, speaking to Confidente yesterday, NUDO secretary general Meundju Jahanika was of the opinion that all the parastatals are well-acquainted with the procurement rules and tender regulations.
“They are doing this because they want to milk the Government and to eat from the national cake alone,” Jahanika said.
“The problem is that corruption is overriding everything. They must learn to follow the required rules and regulations as far as the allocation is concerned.”
“Those in charge have corrupt minds and that is why the Government ends being sued or paying for court cases.”
UDF legislator Dudu Murorua charged that there is need for a thorough scrutinising of all bids to see whether the right procedure is followed and within the budgeted amount.
“We need to verify the profile bidders so that after allocation we will not be challenged and dragged to courts because we missed one thing,” explained Murorua.
According to Swanu’s Usutuaije Maamberua it is not a question of lessons from the court case but rather a need for people to change how they view Government tenders.
“We cannot be learning lessons 27 years after independence. We need to change the culture of how we view tenders and not see them as opportunities,” he noted. “We need less political interventions and to instil a culture of change to view tenders
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015