Lobatse High Court Judge, Modiri Letsididi has stopped Botswana Power Corporation management from awarding the controversial selective P61 million tender to South African companies pending a review application against the utility cooperation.
The BPC tender worth P61, 899,790.11 for the supply and delivery of metering units and accessories is now the subject of a legal review.
According to court papers, the tender was challenged by a local supplier Drift In (Pty) Ltd, after it emerged that the local supplier was among four local companies which were initially recommended for the award. BPC however nullified the tender and instead went on a selective tendering process exclusive to South African manufactures, closing out the four citizen companies.
Although the tender is under review, indications are that BPC then tried to give the business to South African manufacturers through the backdoor.
A local supplier Drift In (Pty) Ltd has filed an urgent application with the High Court in Lobatse challenging BPC’s apparent backdoor attempt to award “another” exclusive tender to SA manufactures as evidenced by a Request for Quotation (RFQ) Tender number 4142 for (various meters) for supply of single phase (1) PLC split smart meters quantity (15,000) three phase (3) PLC split smart meters quantity (5, 000) and customer interface unites with a quantity of 20,000 in Gaborone.
Appearing before Justice Letsididi, Drift In lawyer, Counsel Letlole, of Letlole and Makgane Legal Practice told the court that the matter was urgent because BPC had issued and sent request for quotations tender number 4142 to SA manufactures despite a court process where a review application challenging the decisions of the executive management was still pending before court.
In his court papers, Letlole states that the request for quotation is targeting SA manufacturers like Landi and Gyr, Itron, Conlog, Siemens and Iskraemeco which are the same companies in the review application.
BPC lawyer from Armstrong attorneys, Steve Rankwane said they were not ready to argue the matter on grounds that they were served the same day they appeared before court.
He also told the court that what the applicant was challenging on the RFQ is not what is before court (on review application).
Rankwane said it is a different tender and not the one in dispute on a review application.
However, when making a ruling on the matter, Judge Letsididi ruled in favour of Drift In Pty Ltd, stating that the matter was urgent.
He said tender applications/or disputes were urgent in nature and the new rules of court allowed for the matter to be dealt on an urgent basis.
He then ordered that the matter was urgent and should be treated as such, as it involved the economy (electricity -smart metering) of the country and needed to be dealt with on an urgent basis.
The BPC Tender Technical Board had recommended that the executive committee; Procurement and Tender Committee approve the award of the tender to Drift In (Pty) Ltd, Abiasa Investments, SK Agencies and Arm Roy Investment, all citizen companies.
The recommendation was however set aside by the BPC acting Chief Executive Officer, Financial Officer, the General Manager Transmission and Distribution the General Manager Generation and Senior Legal Advisors who are part of the Executive Committee (Procurement and Tender Committee).
Justice Letsididi has ordered the parties to appear before court on the 9th November 2020 to argue the matter and that BPC should stay the request for quotation on any tender similar to tender number 3890.