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P120 million sugar beans tender raw goes to High Court

""The Competition Authority will approach the High Court to decide on a case in which it alleges collusion and bid rigging by two companies awarded a split job of supplying sugar beans.

The Authority’s efforts to reverse a P120 million tender for sugar beans to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development was this week overruled by the Competition Commission on the basis that the matter was referred to the Commission outside the stipulated period.  The Commission ruled that it has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The tender, was awarded by the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB) in a split tender to Creative Business Solution and Rabbit Group, into two tranches of P58,047,304 and P55, 956,600, respectively, between the two companies.

The entity tasked with monitoring, controlling and prohibiting anti-competitive trade or business practices in the economy of Botswana, Competition Authority accused, before the Competition Commission, the two companies, of colluding and rigging tenders worth millions of Pula for the supply of sugar beans to government deports countrywide.

The tenders were awarded by the Ministry of Local Government for the supply of 7,530 metric tonnes of sugar beans.

The ruling by the Commission of this ‘case within a case’ puts the brakes on the CA’s intention to compel the respondents to reverse the tender as they now have to first deal with the matter of having jurisdiction on the case, because of the timeframes for making a referral to the Commission. However the Authority is adamant that it has a firm case against the two companies.

The main case arose on the basis of two complaints alleging that the companies in question had colluded in their pricing for the tender.

However, the merits of the arguments of both parties have not been attended to on the basis that the Competition Commission has ruled that legal points with the respondents contending that the matter should be dismissed are enforceable citing that the Authority filed the case late, outside the prescribed date.

According to the Authority, after perusing the said documentation, especially tender documents submitted by some of the bidders, it was established that there were reasonable grounds of suspicion that there was collusion among some of the bidders to rig the tender. The tender was which was entered into by 16 enterprises, was split between Creative Business Solutions and Rabbit Group even though all the bidders had each tendered for the entire project.

The Authority said after seeking and obtaining a search warrant at the magistrate court in Gaborone in 2012, they found corroborative evidence after raiding the suspects’ offices.

The order of the Competition states that, “In terms of the Act when the Authority wrote to the PPADB on the 21st November 2012, as well as applying to the Magistrates court on 14th June 2013 for search and seizure warrants, this was furtherance of an ongoing investigation.”

“We find an investigation in this matter started on or about 21st November 2012 and a referral to the Commission should have been made by the 20th November 2013.

The Commission ruled that: “there has been a non referral and the Commission has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.” There was no order on the costs of the case.

Duncan Morotsi of the Competition Authority told WeekendPost that the Authority will appeal the matter at the High Court in the stipulated 14 day period as they believe they have a firm case and that they have not breached the allowed time period to make a referral.

Rabbit Group attorney, Mboki Chilisa, had earlier on during the case contended that the Competition Authority did not refer the matter to the Commission within one year of the opening of an investigation as required by section 39 of the Act. This he said rendered the application “woefully” out of time by a period in excess of 9 months.

The panel was made up of Tendekani Malebeswa, Gaylard Kombani, Dr Jay Salkin, Dr Selinah Peters and Mrs Thembisile Phuthego.

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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