Botched e-government project to bleed government P50 million

30 Jul 2018

Taxpayers may find themselves with a legal bill of more than P50 million as government negotiates an out of court settlement to cancel a P150 million (USD 14  559 860.00) contract for the controversial e-government project, Sunday Standard can reveal. Sunday Standard has turned up information showing that the Botswana Government is in the process of striking an ‘in principle settlement’ deal with a Canadian company Imex Systems Inc to pay for costs incurred for failing to sign a contract for its e-Government system project.

Insiders said the ultimate cost to the taxpayer is likely to be higher than P50 million. This follows months of negotiations with the Canadian company which had taken legal action against the government to protect its reputation.

Sunday Standard has established that the Ministry and PPADB had engaged in a war of words over the project.  The Ministry had insisted that the project should go ahead while PPADB maintained that it should be cancelled. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communication Kabul Ebineng would not be drawn into discussing the matter. “What we are discussing is commercial. We know there is a transaction we are involved in with that company but I cannot comment further than that,” he said.

PPADB Public Relations and Education Manager Charles Keikotlhae on the other hand said “please be informed that the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) is constrained to respond to your questionnaire as the matter of your enquiry is still before the courts.”

In its latest update to shareholders, Imex Systems Inc stated that it was in dialogue with the Government of Botswana and expects to come to settlement terms in the near future.

“The Company has entered into arbitration discussions with the Government of Botswana to settle the amounts billed to them under the previously announced $14 million contract,” the company said. It added that “both parties are working to resolve this situation in the near term for the approximately $5 million claim that the Company has previously disclosed as accounts receivable in its September 30, 2017 balance sheet.”

The company also revealed that “the delay in filing the 2017 Annual Audited Financial Statements is principally related to the Company requiring additional time to complete a restatement of the audited financials statements for the years ending December 31, 2016 and 2015 due to the Company taking a write-down on the amounts owed to the Company under its contract with the Government of Botswana.”