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China Jiangsu takes PPADB, Attorney General to court

The matter in which the government terminated with immediate effect some major contracts awarded to China Jiangsu International Botswana (Pty) Ltd and subsequently blacklisted them from doing business with government and quasi-government organisations has this week reached High Court.

China Jiangsu International Botswana (Pty) Ltd with strong roots in Botswana since 1999 is being accused of engaging in corrupt practices which are deemed national security by Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). China Jiangsu through its attorneys Monthe Marumo and Company have this week filed before the Gaborone High Court citing Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) as the 1st respondent, Attorney General of Botswana as the 2nd respondent and Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services as the 3rd respondent in the matter.

 According to their draft order dated 14th February 2019, China Jiangsu wants the PPADB’s decision to withdraw the tenders be reviewed. According to Cui Wanglin, the Managing Director of China Jiangsu in his founding affidavit, they seek further to demonstrate that the purported withdrawal of the award is fraught with illegality and mala fides and should be corrected, reviewed and/ or set aside and with costs on a punitive scale.

“I honestly and genuinely believe that there is no dispute to the fact that I have stated in the immediately preceding paragraph it being a matter of public knowledge for which I am advised by Applicant (China Jiangsu)’s attorneys which advice I accept as correct, is not necessary to demonstrate and I beg leave of the court not to annex a copy of the Government Gazette to avoid prolixity,” said the letter.

On the 7th of February 2019 PPADB wrote to Managing Director China Jiangsu International Botswana with reference to the design and building of a water distribution network, sanitation reticulation, telemetry and scada and associated works in Maun PR 10/1/3/16II. The letter suggested that the board at its meeting held on the 7th February 2019 resolved to withdraw award of the above tender from China Jiangsu International Botswana which was made on the 11th October 2018.

“The reasons for withdrawal of award cannot be disclosed as they are classified,” read the letter. The letter was signed by Acting Executive Chairperson Elijah Motshedi. In another letter, Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) wrote to the Managing Director of Jiangsu International Botswana (Pty) Ltd with reference to the termination of major villages’ water supply distribution network rehabilitation for Palapye- Tender no WUC 025 (2014).

“We refer to the above contract awarded to the China Jiangsu International Botswana (Pty) Ltd as per the Notification of Award sent to the Company under cover of the Corporation’s letter dated 4th March 2015,” stated the letter. WUC invoked sub- clause 15.5 of the contract which empowers the corporation to terminate the contract it has with Jiangsu International Botswana.

Jiangus was instructed to, “immediately cease work on the Contract and commence removing the Contractor’s equipment in terms of sub- clause 16.3 of the General Conditions of Contract.”“You will be entitled to payment under provisions of sub- clause 19. 6 (a) to (e), and in this regard you are to keep proper records of all Costs incurred as contemplated by sub- clause 19. 6 (a) to (e),” said the termination letter.

“Please note that this decision is final, and no discussions or correspondence will be entered into regarding the decision to terminate nor the reasons for the termination.”  The tender which was awarded on the 25th September 2018 with a project duration of 42 months from the commencement date was valued at P 875, 923, 178. 85.

They were required to provide a performance bond of 10 percent of the contract amount which is (10 percent of P 875, 923, 178.85) P 87, 592, 317. 88 entered into with an approved Botswana Registered banking institution within 28 days calculated from the date of the Letter of Acceptance. The tender was awarded to China Jiangsu International (Pty) Ltd JV together with Unik Construction Engineering.  

On Wednesday 13th February 2019, the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security issued a communique where they advised all quasi-government institutions under the ministry not to engage China Jiangsu International in any of their organisations’ activities or projects as they have been found to have been involved in massive corrupt activities.

The letter which was signed by Permanent Secretary Cornelius Dekop was addressed to; Debswana Diamond Company, Okavango Diamond Company, Diamond Trading Company, Botswana Oil Limited, Botswana Power Corporation, Botswana Geo- Science Institute, Botswana Regulatory Authority, Minerals Development Company Botswana, and Morupule Coal Mine. It is reported that the intelligence organ, was involved in the operation which exposed China Jiangsu.

 When contacted for comment Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi said they are lot of investigations concerning the matter of China Jiangsu International on corruption allegations and investigations are still ongoing.  Magosi said he could not disclose the names of those implicated as that will jeopardise the investigations but promised that he will do so when the time permits.

The Director General could not confirm whether the Chinese State company poses any issues of national security or not saying they are still investigating the matter. Meanwhile Morupisi told this publication that he does not know anything about Red East Construction (Pty) Ltd which he is alleged to have relations with.

“As far as I know, the China Jiangsu International Botswana matter has not reached my office and I don’t know anything about it. The issue concerning the Ministry of Minerals can be addressed to Permanent Secretary Cornelius Dekop, he authored that letter,” said Morupisi who cut the interview very short. Cui Wanglin said China Jiangsu should have been given an opportunity to defend itself against allegations of any nature before an adverse decision could be taken affecting as it does applicant’s rights to its awarded bid.

 He said China Jiangsu has therefore been denied due process of the law and an adverse decision made affecting applicant’s rights without affording it a hearing of any nature whatsoever. “For that reason once more, I honestly and genuinely and believe that the decision of the 1st respondent purporting to reverse an ward bid to applicant ought to be reviewed, correct and set aside”. 

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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