Botswana Government is spending another P140 million on the completion of the Sir Seretse Khama Airport expansion project while she awaits the arbitration decision against Chinese contractor, Sinohydro in 2016.
Displeased with progress in the project, Government was forced to terminate the half a billion Pula (USD 61 million) airport expansion, which was scheduled for completion in 2010 to coincide with the World Cup in South Africa. The Chinese company expressed shock and took the matter to a special Dispute Adjudication Board (DAB) but lost on four broad issues in May 2013. The multimillion Pula project had two phases. Phase 1 involved the construction of the new terminal and the aircraft apron, while Phase 2 was to erect a new building on the site of the existing terminal, car parks and aircraft parking aprons.
Meantime Government has awarded the contract to yet another contractor Stefanutti Stocks to complete the SSKA project at P140m by March- April 2015. After DAB the matter was passed to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) where it has been pending. Just recently ICC released the hearing schedule and set the dates for January 2016. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST) Dikagiso Mokotedi confirmed the latest in the high stakes dispute to Botswana Guardian on Wednesday.
“ICC recently wrote to us advising that the new dates of the matter have been set for January 2016. “In the interim, the two parties have to submit documents before set dates. The contractor will submit his documents, which we are expected to reply.” Government is represented by White & Case LLP, a leading global law firm with lawyers in 38 offices in 26 countries while the Chinese have engaged UK law firm, Masson Pearson which has spread its wings across the Asian Continent.
Mokotedi could not be drawn to say how much the case would cost the taxpayer or how much has been spent thus far. “It is just too early, but, we are looking at producing counter claims at the end of the case,” he said.