Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Botswana Police in procurement irregularities

The Public Procurement Asset and Disposal Board (PPADB) has instructed Botswana Police Service (BPS) to cancel a multi-million tender project that it had awarded to Huawei Botswana Technologies through a selective tendering process. 

According to documents explaining the Board’s decision for the 15th July 2021 sitting, the PPADB also rejected Botswana Police Service’s request to award the same tender to the Chinese company. 

The Tender No is cited as: PPADB052/1-1 and is titled: “Request by Botswana Police Service to re-tender for Supply, Delivery, Installation, Configuration and Commission of Additional Cameras and LTE System to the Existing Safer City Solution for Botswana Police Service. Tender No. Serv 5/2/1(1) by inviting Huawei Technologies Botswana, Hiwing Mechanical and Electrical Technology Corp and ICT Dynamix (Pty) Ltd.” 

The Documents show that the tender was submitted by Botswana Police Service son 12.07.2021, and the decision of the Board was that it was “not approved.” 

The documents also show that, “The Board further withdrew and set aside the approval of the direct appointment of Huawei and ICT Dynamix for the same tender and advised the Botswana Police Service to submit an appropriate request before the Board to progress procurement.” 

The safer city project entails installation of closed-circuit television surveillance system and it ranks high among Botswana Police Services’ development initiatives.

To this end, this surveillance capability has been deployed in the city of Gaborone and is being extended to Francistown. The government is confident that this capacity which calls for more funding will take a leading role in improving public safety where it is deployed.

Information reaching Sunday Standard suggests that Botswana Police Services is caught up in some procurement irregularities in which some questionable tendering procedures were flouted. It is almost a month now after Sunday Standard sent a questionnaire to BPS, Hauweii and PPADB. 

The Botswana Police Services and the company as well as PPADB were given several weeks to clarify some of the controversies surrounding the tender but immediate response to Sunday Standard queries was not available. 

Botswana Police Service Assistance Public Relations Officer Near Bagali said: “The matter is being handled by high authority and they will respond as soon as they are done.” 

Huawei Botswana Technologies did not provide timelines as to when it would respond except promising that it would do so. 

When presenting his committee of supply speech in parliament for the financial year 2020/21 budget, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi had reportedly requested the sum of P77,7million to continue financing the upgrading and expansion of the radio communication system, surveillance systems and the automated fingerprint system; installation of an incident management system for the safer city project; and the roll out of the human resource management system to all police districts systems. 

Recognizing that criminals are increasingly taking advantage of the emerging technologies to offend, the police service continues to build its capacity to operate effectively on the cyber space. 

To this end, Mmusi said public safety infrastructure continues to be developed to aid prevention as well as the detection of crime. 

In April 2015, the Chinese multinational ICT firm Huawei hosted its inaugural Safe City Africa Summit in Cape Town, South Africa and announced its strategy to engage with regions across Africa on the adoption of a consolidated IT platform – one based on the provision of public safety information in collaboration with multi-agency emergency and law-enforcement to help establish the ‘Safe City’ concept.

Huawei has in recent years been meeting with several government leaders in Africa to detail how its safe city solution could be used to facilitate a continent-wide network of safe cities.

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