Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Swartz hands over innovation hub project to Boshwaen

The Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Johnnie Swartz, has finally handed over the innovation hub project to the new board of directors of the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) company, steered by Allan Boshwaen.

This after the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) messed up the P350 million project and attracted litigation along the way, subsequently losing at the High Court because tender irregularities.

The Minister has since written to his counterpart at Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, informing him of a proper handover of the project since BIH is a company with a board of directors.

There is speculation that the handover of the project may see the government withdrawing its investment in the corporation that was meant for the innovation hub but that is not the language spoken by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Dikagiso Mokotedi, at the moment.

What Mokotedi could only say was that the BIH board of directors will run the project taking it away from the BDC because the BIH is now competent to run it.

The project suffered a delay after the corporation was dragged before the courts by civil and mechanical companies, Mmile Mhutsiwa & Associates and Langdon, who punched holes in the BDC tender regulations that it emerged littered with irregularities. The companies triumphed over the corporation at the Lobatse High Court.

“Since the project started, there has been a parallel process to constitute the Botswana Innovation Hub as a company.┬áThere currently are consultations by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology regarding the project. We have written to the Botswana Development Corporation and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to say that since the BIH is now a company with a board of directors it must take over the project,” said Mokotedi.

The BIH Chief Executive Officer, Allan Boshwaen, said that the design and construction of the planned innovation hub facilities in phases will proceed upon resolution of legal challenges.

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