The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology cannot at the moment pile blame anybody for the termination of services of Sinohydro Company.
The Chinese contractor was employed to render services for the expansion and refurbishment of Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. But the contractor and the Government of Botswana agreement of contract fell off the rails unceremoniously last year over shoddy workmanship and delay in the project.
“The investigations are continuing and as such we cannot point fingers. They also have their own grievances….hence we hear they have reported us in London and are suing,” said the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Johnny Swartz on Monday in parliament. Besides who is to blame over the termination of the contractor, delay in the project, Swartz will not be dragged into discussing let alone the seemingly abuse of public coffers on something that would forever go on construction without completion.
“At the moment I cannot provide the details. But the original agreement was something over P500m,” he said.
Members of the Opposition pressed for the actual amount of money employed for the services of Sinohydro so far before termination of services.
Swartz however said the completion of new contract of Airport Terminal building was closed at Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board on the 25th September 2013.
“The tender was crafted in two stages technical and financial and there were four contractors who were prequalified to tender for works.”
“Only three contractors submitted their bids on the closing date. The technical bids were evaluated by the Department of Building, Engineering and Services and only two tenders proceeded to the next stage of opening of financial bids.”
“The financial bids were opened at PPADB on 6th November 2013, unfortunately the tenders were way beyond our pre-tender budget of P118,960,485.69. The tenders ranged between P181,735,386.27 and P231,148,174.36 and the construction period ranged from 8 to 12 months,” he added.
By the time that contractors were closing for the Christmas break only two tenderers have been approved by PPADB which was given to the Ministry on 16th December 2013.
“The clarification exercise commenced on 14th January and was concluded on 22 January 2014. The report was submitted to the Ministry on 17th February and we are still pursuing the report with the hope of submitting our evaluation report to PPADB on 10th March 2014,” the Minister said.
Should everything go as planned Swartz promised parliament: “We are hoping to get the contractor on site by first week of May 2014 and we project an earliest completion date of mid February 2015.”
The debate was sparked by Lobatse MP Nehemiah Modubule, who through a parliamentary question wanted to know the status of the Airport now that Sinohydro was removed from airport.