Friday, October 30, 2020

Lionjanga and Modise face time in prison over a corruption case

The High Court will next week decide whether PPADB Executive Chairman, Armando Lionjanga, and the Director of the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services (DBES), Jimmy Modise, should go to prison for sitting on crucial documents containing information on corruption allegations leveled against the DBES.

Papers filed with the High Court charge that PPADB and DBES have disobeyed a court order issued by Justice Unity Dow in February.

Justice Dow had ordered both organizations to produce crucial documents in connection with a dispute involving allegations of widespread corruption at DBES.

The case follows the award of a multi million Pula construction tender for the Francistown Maximum Security Prison to Pula Consultants by PPADB, recommended by DBES under questionable and dubious circumstances.

Simon Mmopi, a director of Bergstan (Pty), who are challenging the awards in court, reveals in his affidavit how a member of the evaluation team at DBES tipped them off that results of the tender had been manipulated by the Chief Project Coordinator, Dr GG Aridru, and other senior employees at DBES.
It emerges in the affidavit that officials at DBES fiddled with the tender documents to favour Pula Consultants at the expense of Bergstan who had clearly won the tender.

The Sunday Standard raised documents which have been filed with the High Court.

The documents go at length to demonstrate how DBES officials fiddled with the tender documents. Among the court records is a lengthy anonymous letter explaining how the officials manipulated the tender results and copies of two checklist documents which show how the head of the evaluation team, one Tanasic, refused to sign off the recommendation of Pula Consultants as the successful tenderer.

Although the head of the evaluation team refused to sign off Pula Consultants as successful tenderers, DBES director Jimmy Modise, and other senior managers, went ahead anyway and recommended the company to the PPADB.
It emerges from the court records that DBES is also sitting on documents revealing how another company, Pinagare JV, was cheated out of the tender.

The lawyer representing PPADB and DBES, Moemedi Modisenyane, promised to hand over the documents which allegedly reveal corruption at DBES to Bergstan in November 2006 as part of the evidence in the court case.

Justice Dow also ordered DBES to produce the documents no later than February 28, 2007. DBES is, however, still sitting on the documents despite the court order.

In a letter written to the Attorney General dated December 13, 2006 forming part of Mmopi’s affidavit, Bergstan’s lawyers complain that: “It is now known that the Chief Project Coordinator, Dr Aridru, removed the financial evaluation process from the evaluation jury and also interfered in the technical evaluation by unilaterally disqualifying a bidder on the grounds of preliminary non compliance which the jury had already passed to proceed to financial evaluation. The jury passed on its technical evaluation to Aridru (including a recommendation in respect of the bidder Aridru later removed) and this document is also absent from the DBES record.”

In his answering affidavit, Modise concedes that Aridru “acted outside the requirements and mandate of the terms of reference” and that this “constituted an irregularity” and whatever was done by the Chief Project Coordinator (Aridru) was invalid and a nullity.”

Modise further states: “There is the issue of the disqualification of Pinagare Ninham Shanda JV. According to the testimony of all the evaluation team members, the Pinagare JV was, in their assessment and evaluation, tender compliant. In addition the Pinagare JV achieved the technical evaluation pass mark required for their tender to proceed to opening of their financial proposal.
“It appears that the Chief Project Coordinator, in taking over the evaluation process to prepare the technical evaluation, revisited the Pinagare JV bid and determined that the bid should have been disqualified and proceeded to disqualify the bid.

“In so doing, the Chief Project Coordinator, with respect erred as he should not have prepared the technical evaluation report. This should have been left in the hands of the duly appointed evaluation team. To have then proceeded to purport to perform a function specifically assigned to the evaluation team and to, as it were, overrule the evaluation team, by disqualifying Pinagare JV, constitutes in my view, an irregularity in relation to the technical evaluation process.

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