China Jiangsu International has been found to be involved in ‘massive’ corrupt practices says a minisrty communiqué released this week and warning government departments not to engage the company in their projects.
The communiqué signed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Cornelius Dekop and bearing February 13th 2019 date was issued to all Chief Executive Officers under the ministry. These include Debswana Diamond Company, Okavango Diamond Company, Botswana Oil Limited, Botswana Power Corporation, Botswana Geo-Science Institute and Morupule Coal Mine. The chief executives are told in no ambiguous terms not to engage the company. China Jiangsu International Botswana is currently working on several projects including the construction of the Police Forensic Science Laboratory at the tune of almost P270 million.
Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Vincent Seretse confirmed to Botswana Guardian that his Permanent Secretary, Dikagiso Mokotedi, has also made him aware of the latest developments regarding the Chinese company. Seretse stated that this statement forms the position of government and not only the selected entities.
“PSs being technical operators would be the ones with the details of such an issue,” he said in an interview Wednesday evening. He however, stated that the ongoing project under his ministry is nearing completion and there are contractual obligations binding them to continue. Seretse also maintained his satisfaction with the work that China Jiangsu International is currently doing.
“There has been monitoring and we are happy with the progress, and the workmanship. The allegations do not translate to poor work,” Seretse said. Just recently media reports stated that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS) had stopped a P900 million tender to China Jiangsu International Botswana after it emerged that a former cabinet minister was to receive a P30 million bribe for the tender.
The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) was later instructed to cancel the tender it awarded to the Chinese company after it uncovered the illegal deal.
Company supplied gov’t with Tsabana,Malutu
We remain govt’ supplier-Osman
Sefalana, the diversified group has suffered a setback as government public procurement and awarding body, PPADB has not approved request by the local government to pay the listed its dues after a successful delivery, BG Business understands.
The company’s subsidiary which has a milling plant in Serowe, Foods Botswana, was chosen to supply 4020 metric tons of Malutu and 4920 metric tons of Tsabana to the Local Government ministry, which is ministered by Slumber Tsogwane.
At its sitting on the 31st of March 2017, Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) did not approve the retroactive payment to the company, which its financial year ends next week. PPADB which is headed by Bridget John has not stated reasons for the rejection. The non-payment is likely to affect the BSE listed company’s financial results. Foods Botswana manufactures Malutu and Tsabana which government issues out to local clinics and health facilities across the country.
Meanwhile, Sefalana Group Finance Director, Mohammed Osman told BG Business that they have completed their 2015/16 government tender in April 2016 which was extended by six months to October 2016. “We are proud to have delivered all allocated volumes on time to the government. We now await the award of the 2016/17 tender, which is currently under consideration,” he said.
Although he could not disclose how much is the payment BG Business understands that the government had allocated P15.6 million for the supply of 1640 metric tons of Tsabana. “At this moment we can not share with you how much we are supposed to get from government.
We have, since the PPADB decision was made public in the newspaper, made enquiries with the respective department and are still engaging with them to find out what needs to be done to move forward,” said Osman. The Sefalana finance chief said he believes that the matter will be amicably sorted out in due course. Foods Botswana. “We remain a supplier to government and continue to supply the respective department,” he said. Announcing the 2015 results last year Sefalana Managing Director, Chandra Chauhan said they experience a net loss of P2, 5 to P3 million if they don’t produce for government. The group’s revenue is largely hinged on its contract/tender business than it is on its core segment of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
According to the group’s financials, the group recorded a turnover of P2.005 billion for the six months ended October 31, 2016 up from P1.8 billion in the prior period. The group’s overall profit before tax for the six month period increased marginally to P81.1 million from P80.4 million recorded in the previous year.
Sefalana Cash and Carry Limited Botswana operations contributed 60 percent and 48 percent of the group’s revenue and profit before tax for the reporting period.
The number of contractors registered with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) increased from 12 335 in 2014/15 to 17 932 in the current year.
This, according to PPADB executive chairperson Bridget John, was among their main achievements. She says the increase was a result of the growing demand for contractor registration service which was driven by anticipated and running tenders. Revenue generated through contractor registration also increased by 50 percent from P11. 225, 246 from the previous financial year to P17, 423, 332.
During the current year, the Board developed and published the first Price Reference Guide, which is a collaboration with the World Bank. The Guide seeks to strengthen the public procurement system in order to achieve high levels of rationality, reasonableness of the cost, transparency and integrity and enhance value for money.
John says the guide is used throughout the procurement cycle in the preparation of budget estimates and Bill of quantities, assessing the reasonableness of prices during evaluation and adjudication and in benchmarking price offers, spend analysis, trend of cost items and for reporting purposes.
The Board adjudicated 527 submissions in 2015/16, a 28 percent decline compared to 735 during the previous financial year. However, John says that due to budgetary constraints, the additional P2.5 million Integrated Procurement Management System project from ministry of finance and economic development for the year was not released and had to be funded from the PPADB reserves.
She reveals that the cost containment measures implemented by the Board during the year resulted in a deficit of P14.5 million being funded from the Board’s reserves against expected deficit of P15.5 million
The long-awaited tender for the construction of the P85 million all-weather Platjan bridge over the troubled Limpopo River, which joins Botswana and South Africa was awarded last Friday with construction billed to start early October
Botswana Guardian has it on good authority that the final evaluation meetings of the awarding of the tender process started last week Friday. The bridge, originally a long concrete slab supported by railings and mounted on pillars, over the crocodile-infested Limpopo River can no longer carry the heavy trucks that use it. During rainy seasons the bridge becomes dysfunctional as it gets completely submerged in water. In fact, recently the concrete slab was torn out by the pressure of the waters and was only restored thanks to the goodwill of the area business community.Speaking to Botswana Guardian, Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang confirmed that the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) awarded the tender last Friday. Kebonang said Cabinet had also decided to move the project from the ministry of Transport and Communications to SPEDU which falls under the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry.
In terms of what is happening with the progress of the construction of the Platjan Bridge, SPEDU has advertised the tender, the ITT is going through the evaluation. “The brief that we have is that by Friday (last week) the board should be deciding on the award having gone through the adjudication process. The budget was originally P100m; it is now P85m. We are hoping that the 11 kilometre gravel road will be done alongside the construction of the Bridge.”In an interview with SPEDU’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Mokubung Mokubung said the contractor awarded the tender would be expected to sign the contract, mobilise to the site and start construction in early October 2016.
This infrastructural development project will have overlapping second phase that involves construction of the 30 kilometre road from the bridge to the village of Mathathane which is a shorter route. In that case we expect tourists that come from Kruger National Park to come straight through the Platjan bridge through Bobirwa constituency to Selibe Phikwe. “SPEDU and Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) are on course to develop the dam based tourism surrounding Thune, Letsibogo and Dikgathong dams,” he said.The bridge is of strategic importance to the Bobirwa area which is rich in both wildlife and tourism sites amongst them being the newly constructed Thune dam- which will partially be used for irrigation purposes, Molema Trust – a wildlife trust composed of the villages of Mothabaneng, Lentswe- le- Moriti and Mathathane. Others are Mathathane Basket Weaving project and two of the country’s top tourism sites – Mashatu Game Reserve and the Thuli Block Belt. Most importantly, once the bridge and road are completed it will allow residents of Bobirwa, Selebi Phikwe and Mmadinare constituency to also participate in tourism ventures.
The bridge was first mooted in 2007 after Botswana and South Africa agreed on the Regional Action Agenda to identify gaps and prioritise projects that can promote regional integration and development such as upgrading bridges and river crossings connecting the neighbouring nations. The two countries then agreed to start with Ramotswa and Platjan bridges. South Africa was allocated construction of the Ramosweu bridge while Botswana got Platjan bridge. Ramotswa bridge is about to complete while Botswana has been dogged by delays allegedly caused by officials of Roads Department.With the ball now thrown on SPEDU’s court, it remains to be seen how it will affect the completion of the bridge and 25 kilometre road between Mathathane and Platjan. The road had been tarred up to Mashatu and Platjan junction about 11 kilometres from the bridge. The Bobonong – Mathathane road which joins Sefophe-Selibe- Phikwe is currently being refurbished.
Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has launched the second phase of Integrated Procurement Management System (IPMS), web-based system, which is expected to improve efficiency and transparency in contractor registration and procurement and asset disposal system.
Botswana is the first country in Africa to develop IPMS. It is also used to update company information, check status and receive feedback from PPADB regarding a company’s application for registration. PPADB Executive Director, Bridget John said the introduction of IPMS is in line with the broad objective of driving efficiency and improving customer service as per the 2008/13 and 2013/18 strategic plans. “Our value proposition is to keep tenders clean and we shall continue to do so boldly,” she said.
The system was developed in two phases, with phase 1 consisting of contractor registration and procurement planning. Phase 2 comprises e-bidding, capacity building and asset disposal. E-bidding module includes IT creation by procuring entities and vetting by PPADB, evaluation and adjudication and dispute resolution.
The e-bidding is expected to assist the PPADB in managing procurement better as tenders will be submitted, evaluated and adjudicated online. In addition, IPMS is expected to enable PPADB to provide a platform where procuring entities and the bidding community can access its services outside their offices in Gaborone and Francistown.
Other modules, being capacity building and asset disposal will facilitate the ease of managing asset disposal and training of various stakeholders to achieve desired outcome. Permanent secretary in the ministry of finance and development planning, Solomon Sekwakwa hailed IPMS and said it will assist in the ease of doing business in the country. “Those who registered with PPADB prior to the advent of IPMS would recall that applications used to take a long time to be decided upon, compared to now,” he said.
In response, Bakers Association Botswana, Botshabelo Ontse said the system will address hindrances that have been making it hard for business community to access tenders. “I hope PPADB will train tender evaluators well for the system to work, otherwise it is going to be a challenge for operational staff,” she said. So far, three online tenders have been successfully awarded through the system.