Botswana Railways (BR) executives are refusing to reveal the name of the middleman that was engaged to broker a deal between the railway parastatal and South Africa’s Transnet Engineering.
Sunday Standard is reliably informed that Botswana Railways used the services of a high profile local businessman (name withheld) to negotiate, at a fee, the deal for procurement of the 37 coaches from the manufacturer, Transnet from South African.
Transnet, South Africa’s rail and portal parastatal is reported to have recorded a significant rise in its revenue after it was engaged by Botswana Railways to deliver 30 passengers coaches. The upward movement has been attributed to cross border activities including the Botswana Railways tender.
Botswana recently received 22 passenger coaches from Transnet, as part of its plan to reintroduce a passenger rail service. A further 15 coaches will be delivered by May this year. As a result, Transnet’s financials show that its revenue from cross-border activities has increased from R1.5 billion in 2014 to R2.6 billion in 2015.
Although Transnet has reiterated through South African media that they won the contract “following a public and competitive bidding process”, the statement is in stark contrast to what Minister Mabeo told the media in a previous briefing that Transnet was picked through selective tendering route.
Efforts to get clarity from BR officials have proved futile as the organization’s Public Relations Manager Kebabonye Morewagae said only the Chief Executive Officer can provide answers to the question regarding the procurement deal.
The CEO on the other hand however, seems reluctant to share information on the matter as he had not responded to a questionnaire sent to him through the PR Manager since Wednesday.
At the same time, Sunday Standard has been informed that the BR management refused to answer a question from Member of Parliament for Gabane/Mmankgodi Pius Mokgware who had on Thursday asked during the organization’s briefing to parliament a question on who was the middleman in the procurement of the P250million coaches.
The launch of the new BR Express has been mired in controversy since its launch two weeks back. The passenger train has reportedly experienced power failures that resulted in the train failing to depart at scheduled times.
Meanwhile Sunday Standard is in possession of Botswana Railways’ Capital Budget for Financial Year 2015-2016. The documents show a list of local companies that have been awarded tenders in preparation for the re-introduction of the BR Express.