Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Inside the mysterious BPC multi-billion fake tender

When it comes to matters relating to issuance of tenders, the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) ÔÇô both the old and the new seems to be on the same “WatsApp Group” with controversy.

The old executive team of the utility as lead by Jacob Raleru was frequent in the front pages of local newspapers a few years back following the historic issuance of the Morupule B power station. Part of the Morupule B controversy saw Raleru losing his job at the BPC and replaced by Dr Stephan Schwarzfischer ÔÇô a German national.

A few years later, it has since emerged that even the “German Machine” cannot separate the state owned power utility company with controversy.

Last week, the nation got yet another shock after revelations that a “fraudulent” tender worth P1.4 billion has been awarded to CSC & EC (Pty) Ltd on the 23rd August 2018.

A letter presented at the ongoing session of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises – also seen by The Telegraph, state that CSC & EC (Pty) Ltd has been awarded a contract to install solar photovoltaic power system for associated works for North-West transmission grid connection project at a total cost of P795 000 000.00 and P647 000 000.00.

The letter which carries credentials of the Ministry of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and Energy also state that the contractor is expected to commence the work on the 10th September 2018.

While the letter is signed under his names, the Permanent Secretary in the said ministry – Cornelius Dekop has described the tender as “fraudulent”.

Dekop was summoned by the Parliamentary Committee after Dr Schwarzfischer last week also expressed shock about the tender.

“We have not signed any PPA with anybody and BPC was not consulted about this North-West solar power project,” Dr Schwarzfischer told the Samson Guma Moyo led committee on Friday.

Dr Schwarzfischer expressed the view that ‘someone, somewhere’ is acting outside the BPC Act and also disregarding policies around power generation licensing in the country. He pointed the committee towards the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) which he said was mandated for such, and could have better answers.

Fr his part, when appearing before the same committee on Monday, Dekop distanced himself from the fraudulent offer letter of the tender.

He told the committee that “someone” signed the letter on his behalf adding that even his names are not even correctly spelt in the said letter. Dekop went on to say that as per national public procurement laws, his office is not even authorised to issue tenders of that magnitude.

“This should be done through PPADB and I only authorize or recommend up to P600 million and not these kind of financial figures”, Dekop said.

In addition to the mysterious tender, Dekop says the have since reported another fraud case that involves fake tender issuance within the Energy Ministry to the Serious Crime Squad in the capital Gaborone.

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