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DIS footprints in P54 million project raise eye brows

Publishing Date : 15 October, 2018

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

The involvement of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) in the construction of the Mahalapye Prison fence has raised eyes bows after the tender was awarded to the company which has been perennially benefiting from the intelligence tenders.


Although the project fell under the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, this week Weekend Post was informed by the ministry officials that the project was coordinated by the DIS as well as the Botswana Prison Service with the support of Department of Building and Engineering Services. DIS is under a different ministry, at Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration.


The project, according to the ministry of defence’s procurement plan submitted to Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB), was estimated to cost P8 million but it was eventually built at the cost of P54.3 million. The project was awarded to Rosita Enterprises (Pty) Ltd trading as Defence Concepts Botswana through the selective tendering process. According to Ikwatlhaeng Bagopi, the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, the procurement method was through expression of interest by potential bidders, with only two companies, the other being Mapande Investment showing capability, resulting in their invitation to tender.


The company which won the tender, Defence Concepts had long documented close relations with DIS as their preferred supplier, winning multimillion tenders during the reign of Colonel Isaac Kgosi as Director General of the spy organisation.
Kgosi’s association with the company has been called into question on numerous occasions, with some alleging that the company was unfairly benefiting from government tenders under the disguise of direct appointment or selective tendering, which closed out other competitors.  


PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Mahalapye Prison Fencing project entails; demolition/ dismantling of existing razor mesh fence backfill and cart away rubble from site; supply, delivery and erection of 600mm high outer perimeter fence; supply delivery and erection of 3000mm high inner perimeter fence; supply, delivery and erection of 3000mm high partitioning perimeter fence; supply, delivery and installation of security gate; as well as supply and pour concrete to foundations.

PROJECT DELAYS AND INCCURRED EXPENSES

Despite conflicting information regarding the status of the project, Bagopi insists that the project is 100 percent complete pending cleaning of the site. The project commenced on the 24 of February 2017, with an anticipated completion date being 25 September 2017. However, the project could not be completed within the initial agreed date, leading to an extension to the 25 February 2018. Government has so far paid the contractor P48. 5 million, with the final amount expected to be P54.3 million.


The P54.3 million that government will eventual pay to the contractor is P46 million more than what the Ministry of Defence had initially estimated in their procurement plan submitted to the PPADB. The primary mandate of PPADB is to adjudicate and award tenders for Central Government and any other institutions specified under the Act for the delivery of works, services and supplies. However, tenders under P300 million in values are delegated to Ministerial Tender Committees (MTCs).


Explaining the occurrences which led to delay and government incurring the cost, Bagopi said: “The project was delayed due to additional time to cover those works and late delivery of material from external suppliers.” Bagopi indicated that government incurred additional cost because of increase in quantities of material, which in turn affected the programme.


“At present, there is no extension of time with cost, if any they will be discussed during the final payment. Project is now due for final measurement in which we will consider liabilities for late delivery of the project to either party,” he said. “Initially when the project scope was developed, the new fence was planned in such a way that it was going to be built over the footprint of the old fence.” Bagopi argued that this would have required that the old fence be removed first before constructing the new fence.

“This would have compromised the security of the prison facility,” he said. “The other issue was existence of under-ground services that also contributed to moving the fence outward by 7 metres. This created an increase in the length of the fence.”

PROJECT: FENCING FOR PRISON FACILITIES-MAHALAPYE PRISON
ESTIMATED COST: P8,000,000
CONTRACT SUM: P49,670,953
VARIATION AMOUNT: P4,644,393
REVISED CONTRACT SUM: P54,315,347

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