Connect with us

CA wants PPADB tender award reversed

Competition Authority convinced that winners have colluded

The Competition Authority is accusing before the Competition Commission, two companies, Creating Business Solution  and Rabbit Group of colluding and rigging tenders worth millions of Pula for the supply of sugar beans to government deports countrywide.

In papers before the commission,Competition Authority says the application was made following two complaints which were recieved and investigated by the applicant concerning TENDER NO PR;8/6/2/11 (v) that was issued by the Ministry of Local government through the Department of Local government Finance and Procurement Services, Food Relief Services Division,for supply of 7530 metric tonnes of sugar beans.

“The complainant had alleged that two companies in response to the Tender had colluded in terms of pricing.The complainant,said he had observed a pattern in pricing by atleast three groups of tenders,whose prices were too close to each other’s such as to raise suspicion of collusion,” reads part of the Compeition authority’s founding affidavit.

The authority said that after perusing the said documentation,especially tender documents submitted by some of the tendering companies they established that there were reasonable grounds of suspicion and that there was collusion between some of the bidders to rig the tender.The tender was which was entered into by 16 enterprises was split between Creating Business Solution  and Rabbit Group even though all the bidders had each tendered to the entire project.

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

“The outcome of the analyses is that the 1st and 2nd respondents had agreed to divide the tender amongst themselves along geographic lines where one party would supply predominantly the deports in the northern side of the country and the other in the south” argues Competition Authority, further adding that ‘the agreement also entails sharing the value of the tender equally between the respondents.’

The authority continues to say the pricing pattern shows a systematic and deliberate intention to rig the bid. “When it comes to the tender prices between 1st respondents and 2nd respondents, the difference is a consistent P200.00 for each depot,” says Competition authority.

They further said by engaging in the collusive tendering demonstrated above the respondents have frustrated government policy of improving competitive method of procuring goods and services from the private sector as a means of ensuring optimal use of national resources.

The companies refuted the claims by the Competition Authority saying they were devoid of truth, malicious and defamatory.

Rabbit Group attorney, Mboki Chilisa, 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.

He also argued that the matter was not referred to the Commission by the chief executive officer, who is the executive secretary of the Competition Authority as it is a requirement under section 39 (2) of the Act.

“Any suggestion of collusion or rigging is a figment of the Authority’s imagination. There is no way that two out of sixteen entities who submitted tenders two can rig the outcome of a tender process or submit collusive bids, with a view to ensure that government pays more than it ought to have paid for goods or services,” posits Chilisa who furthered a series of technical flaws on the application.

However, attorney Abel Modimo representing the Competition Authority stated that all the raised points of law were devoid of merit or substance in law.

Modimo pointed out that the raising of points of law at this stage of the proceedings was an abuse of the process of the Commission, pleading with the Commission to dismiss all the points with costs.

The Commission of five panel of commissioners, adjourned the case pending the decision of whether the merits of case should be heard or not.

Continue Reading


African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

Continue Reading


Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

Continue Reading


Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

Continue Reading