By Elvis Muraranganda
THE Chinese company, which lost out on the multi-billion dollar upgrade and expansion of the Hosea Kutako International Airport, after a Supreme Court ruling last month, has now made an impassioned plea to the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) to initiate fresh negotiations around the project, which it wants to implement in phases. In a confidential letter dated 10 April which was leaked to the Confidente this week, Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Vice-President, Yu Xiaofeng, pleads with NAC Chief Executive Officer, Tamer El- Kallawi, to start afresh with talks around the implementation of the project.
In Xiaofeng’s letter, which was
also addressed to NAC board Chairperson, Rodgers Kauta; Public Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, Willem Goeieman; Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein; and the Office of the Attorney-General; he maintained that the matter was of an urgent nature, while pushing for a prompt response from El-Kallawi.
“Further, given our willingness to negotiate to implement the project in phases, as well as the working amount and costs, we are prepared to work together with NAC, the ministry of works and the AG’s office; and we recommend that we initiate negotiations,” Xiaofeng wrote.
This comes after last month’s Supreme Court ruling, which declared the awarding of the airport upgrade contract to Anhui “unlawful and null and void”, after hearing arguments on an appeal by President Hage Geingob and the ministers of finance and works and transport.
This had followed an earlier decision by the High Court in September last year to uphold the awarding of the contract to the Chinese firm.
In December 2015, Geingob had instructed the minister of works and transport to order the NAC to cancel the award of the contract, so that a new tender process could be followed.
There were media reports of alleged irregularities and possible bribery and corruption in the original bidding process.
Anhui did not take this directive lying down and dragged government to court, initially scoring a victory in the High Court, before the Supreme judgement vindicated Geingob’s decision.
Xiaofeng expressed the belief in his letter that if El-Kallawi agrees to the negotiations, they will lead to an amicable conclusion of the contract.
“We wish, as always, to still work with your dear company for this important project for Namibia.”
Xiaofeng also quoted the Supreme Court judgement, which states that the NAC, as per its establishing Act, has the power to enter into contracts for the performance of any act or the provision of any service.
“A contract to expand and upgrade the airport would thus fall squarely within the statutory mandate of the NAC.”
El-Kallawi did not respond to questions sent to him.
However, NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati responded as follows, “Following your questions on the upgrade and expansion of Hosea Kutako International Airport, the chairperson of the NAC board of directors stated that the board shall in due course inform the bidders of its position in this matter.”
G e i n g o b ’ s office refused to comment this week on the latest development s , referring all enquiries to Works and Transport Minister, Alpheus !Naruseb.
!Naruseb was unavailable for comment, at the time of going to print.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015