Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Big businessmen caught in Nchindo’s web of corruption

Information pieced together from interviews with Debswana staff and companies that did work for the mining company portray Louis Nchindo as a control freak who used the Debswana millions to get big businessmen to do his bidding.

A number of businessmen, among them Botswana’s movers and shakers, were allegedly awarded big Debswana contracts for helping Louis Nchindo in his personal businesses ÔÇô the Slaughter & May report has revealed.

The report names a number of companies that were involved in the construction of Nchindo’s multi-million Pula residences and were allegedly awarded with big Debswana contracts.

The interviews reveal how Nchindo allegedly manipulated tenders to ensure his friends were awarded lucrative deals and his enemies were either blacklisted or ruined by varying terms of their contract.

One of the interviews disclosed how tenders for a multi-million pula project at Orapa were turned back with an instruction from head office to include a construction company owned by Nchindo’s friend. “The clear inference was that improper manipulation of the tender process took place at the instigation of Nchindo,” stated the report.

Another citizen contractor, who was a rival to Nchindo’s friend told the Slaughter & May investigators how he was enticed into a honey trap by the Debswana managing director and his friend with a lucrative tender for the multi-million pula construction of Debswana residential houses in Orapa.

The contractor told the investigators how he had a personal visit to his office by his rival who was Nchindo’s friend who told him that Nchindo wanted more citizen contractors on the contract.

The contractor was awarded a tender to build 95 houses while Nchindo friend got the tender for 125 houses.

He detailed how, unlike Nchindo’s friend, he was never given an opportunity to visit the mine and evaluate conditions.

“He was never made aware of the details such as the hidden costs e.g. worker and material transport. The Engineer in charge enforced strict rules relative to health and safety that added more costs,” stated the report.

“He gave as an example the fact that he had to provide toilets, whereas Nchindo’s friend was not required to construct them. His perception was that a requirement to comply with a raft of petty regulations that did not seem to apply to the construction of houses by Nchindo’s friend.

“He said he was given 12 months to build his 95 houses whilst Nchindo’s friend was given 18 months to comply with the contractual obligations.

Nchindo’s rival says he was ultimately ordered off the mine having completed 38 of the 95 houses. He was sued by contractors and lost between P3 and 4 million. He lost his business and his property and is having to defend a number of law suits.

He believes this was a calculated plan by Nchindo and his friend, a rival contractor, to ruin him.

The report interviewed a number of first class contractors who were blacklisted by Debswana either because they crossed paths with Nchindo or refused to have him as shareholder.

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