Namibia: Fight Over N$60 Million Railway Tender

Windhoek — Oshana Wholesalers, one of the companies bidding for the multi-million dollar railway tender, has accused fellow bidder Profile Investment of conflict of interest, an accusation that the lawyers of Profile-Investment brushed aside as “devoid of any truth and defamatory”,

The two companies are in the run for the N$60 million tender to supply rails for the upgrading of the railway line between Aus and Lüderitz. Profile Investment scored a victory in the High Court on May 31, 2013 with the court ruling that the tender be sent back to the Tender Board for re-evaluation.

Profile Investment had won the contract, but the Tender Board later cancelled the contract citing a number of irregularities. Profile Investment appealed to the court, which set aside the cancellation and asked the Tender Board to re-evaluate the lucrative tender.

Dankie Nkoshi of Oshana Wholesalers last week said Profile Investment should not be awarded the tender because, besides the higher tender price, there are a number of “serious irregularities that point to a conflict of interest, which the ministry spotted after paying a final comprehensive scrutiny to the entire tender documents”.

These include the tender consultant who wore “two hats” as principal agents for one of the subcontractors to Profile Investment and also as technical advisor to the ministry. Nkoshi says the tender consultant, Michael Rumsey of K&A Partnership Consulting Engineers, plays the role of a principal agent for D&M Rail Construction, which Profile Investment enlisted as a subcontractor that will offload the rails.

This, Nkoshi says, makes Rumsey one of the tender beneficiaries. However, Norman Tjombe, of Tjombe Elago Law Firm Incorporated, representing Profile Investment, says the “allegations against our clients are devoid of any truth and are defamatory”.

“Oshana Wholesalers, who were cited as respondents in the court application, had the opportunity to place such information on record and under oath, but did not. In fact, the officials of the Ministry of Works and Transport who motivated the cancellation of the tender with the same allegations that Nkoshi is now so recklessly making, could not substantiate the allegations when they had an opportunity to do so.

“We have documentary proof that the allegations of the conflict of interest were nothing but a misrepresentation and designed in such a manner so as to ensure that the tender is awarded to Oshana Wholesalers cc, and when that failed, that the tender is cancelled altogether. That failed in court,” said Tjombe.

Nkoshi maintains that besides technical consultations and designs of the initial tender requirements, part of Rumsey’s tender assignment is to receive bidding documents as an impartial actor. “Subsequently, he would also give a technical recommendation to the ministry on which bidder the tender should go to. This process in light of the hats worn by the consultant is completely flawed and therefore compromised. The transportation of heavy consignments such as rails is often transported and offloaded by TransNamib. In view of [this], the role of an offloading subcontractor raises eyebrows. Any logical thinker can easily conclude that this is an attempt to justify possible huge cross payments that would emanate from Profile Investments to Rumsey from the inflated bidding price, if the tender was awarded to Profile Investments,” Nkoshi said.

Tjombe says: “Rumsey and/or his K&A Partnership Consulting Engineers were never principal agents of D&M Rail Construction. In fact, Rumsey has always been the principal agent of the Ministry of Works and Transport. The Tender Board has not yet evaluated any of the bids for the tender, and it is strange how Nkoshi is counting his chickens even before the eggs hatch.”


Source : allafrica

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