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Council moves against breach of contract

  • Contractor’s project behind schedule, residents furious
  • Contractor contested and lost in Kanye South BDP Bulela Ditswe
  • The delayed project is in the same constituency (Kanye South)


Southern District Council is expected to take action against a prominent Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activist who lost last year’s primaries, following his company’s award of a tender to pave Kanye internal roads.
The company Konkan Maintenance Services is owned by Thato Baruti who lost the BDP primaries to Dr. Lemogang Ntime. Ntime garnered 1 566 against Baruti’s 1 298.


Information reaching Weekend Post is that the contractor failed to proceed with reasonable speed and the project is already three months overdue. This publication gathers that warning letters were issued to the contractor on several occasions but they did not yield any positive outcomes as the contractor failed to deliver the project within the project parameters.


The first correspondence was dated 20th August 2013 and the contractor was warned about the delay of works at the project and subsequently on 25th September was issued with breach of conditions of contract. The contractor in turn applied for extension of time to SDC on 28th October 2013 and was replied on the matter on 12th November in which the extension was not granted. The delay was said to be inconsistent with the contract.


Among other things, the contract stipulates that if the works are delayed by bad weather or employee strike, the council secretary shall make a fair and reasonable extension of time for completion of the works. Therefore it was believed that in the council secretary’s view it was unreasonable to extend the time of the project.


WeekendPost can reveal that the project’s original contract amount is in the tune of P5.5 million and was commenced on 11th June 2013. The completion date was set for 24 October 2013 and therefore alluding that it is so far three months behind schedule.


Residents have complained about the project as they say it inconveniences them and disturbs their local travel experience. Failure to complete the project in the constituency that the owner has shown interest in being its Member of Parliament has a stroke of conspiracy theories that it might be a sabotage to render those in political leadership in the area as ineffective. The WeekendPost visited the site and can confirm that the project came to a halt.


Overall progress for the project as at December 17, 2013 was 23 percent with cumulative expenditure of P1.2 million. It has been established that the contractor had been warned against his slow progress but even up to date the works are incomplete.


Contacted for comment, Baruti said they are requesting an extension to February 28th 2014 for reasons which he could not disclose.


The contract between the council and the contractor further states that, “If the contractor fails to complete the works as stated in the tender within any extended time under clause 23 the contractor shall pay 0.0274% of the contract sum per day for the period during which works have remained incomplete. The council may deduct this from money due to the contractor,” the clause which the council has started implementing.


Investigations by this publication suggest that culverts units were delivered to the site on September 16, 2013 and excavation for them was complete on October 31, 2013. However installation has not been completed, as the contractor is failing to provide the necessary construction equipment.


It is further reported that the concreting works for the remaining 1.9 km length of road for kerb stones along Tsopye road link stopped on November 17, 2013 as the contractor was failing to provide the necessary materials. Interlocking bricks and sand for bedding are not adequate to complete the remaining section.


Base preparation for Tsopye road link is not yet complete as there is still 1.3 km to be completed. The temporary access is not adequately provided and properly maintained and watered to suppress dust. This was brought to the attention of the site foreman on several occasions.
 

WeekendPost turned up information that the contractor’s plant is constantly breaking down and the contractor takes a long time to repair them. This has significantly contributed to the delay in completing the project.


The Council Secretary, Mompati Seleka, confirmed the delay of the project. “The contractor has not been performing as per the contract and we tried cautioning him several times that he may face termination. With the persistent non compliance with the contract the termination is most likely to happen.”

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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