Government could not respond to inquiries why the Ministry of State President gave Lesedi Motors (Pty) Ltd an “advance payment guarantee” of P28 million to supply an unspecified number of Land Rovers to the Botswana Defence Force (BDF).
The Sunday Standard can reveal that the government paid Lesedi Motors (PTY) Ltd P28 016 547.00 for the purchase of Land Rovers in 2007 after the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) approved a request submitted by the Ministry on 28 March 2007. The procurement of the unspecified number of vehicles was for tender number STB 0/0/12/2006 -2007.
On March 22 the same year, an amount of P3 million (P3, 616, 620.00) was approved for procurement of additional Land Rovers Defender 110 Tdi canvas from the same company.
Surprisingly, the PPADB records do not indicate that the P28 million was an estimate amount. Added to this, the PPADB has not stated how many vehicles were purchased.
Be that as it may, two months later (10 May 2007) the BDF made a request which was approved by the PPADB, this time to procure four additional Land Rovers for “operational purposes” from Lesedi Motors “through direct appointment” at a cost of P1 million (P1, 094, 696.00) for tender number STB 0/0/12/2006 ÔÇô 2007, a request which was again approved by the PPADB.
Further, the BDF requested a waiver to procure an additional 85 (eighty five) units of Land Rover pick-ups from Lesedi Motors to replace the previously approved procurement of Troop carrier variant at a total cost of P27 million (P27 659 936.70) on 29 November 2007. This waiver for procurement was also approved by the PPADB.
Asked how many vehicles were bought from Lesedi Motors for P28 million, what informed the decision to request approval for unspecified number of vehicles and the subsequent request for extra money to pay for additional land rovers, the deputy permanent secretary at the Office of the President, Dr. Jeff Ramsay, referred the Sunday Standard enquiries to the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security.
The permanent secretary at the Defence, Justice and Security, Bruce Palai, told this publication by phone that his ministry was unable to respond to enquiries on Friday as it was not administratively possible to do the same day.
The spokesperson at the PPAD, Ditapole Chibua-Tseboeng, said on Friday that her office was not in a position to offer assistance as those better informed were running a capacity building workshop outside PPADB. Those familiar with government procurement procedures say the government, by paying for an unspecified number of item, could well be giving the supplier a blank cheque.
Some of the directors of Lesedi Motors are a local motor magnate and a cabinet minister.