PPADB Executive Director Bridget John at one of her organisation’s briefings
The Public Assets and Disposal Board (PPADB) has explained why it continues doing business with companies which are implicated in alleged fraudulent awarding of tenders; and are currently subject of investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
It has come to the attention of this publication that although PPADB introduced delisting measures as a way of curbing alleged corruption and unethical practices from contracting companies, some companies implicated in unethical practices have not been deregistered by government central procurement entity despite the PPADB being aware of investigations launched by DCEC.
The PPADB spokesperson Ditapole Chibua-Tsheboeng revealed that, PPADB cannot deter a company from tendering based on ongoing investigations by the DCEC since the allegations levelled against the company may prove to be untrue after the conclusion of the investigations.
She noted that action to suspend or delist is taken after a company had been found guilty following the investigation. Chibua-Tsheboeng says by virtue of being part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), DCEC forms part of the committee which is instrumental in either delisting or suspending companies.
According to the organization’s recent Annual Report (2013/2014) the Suspension and Delisting Disciplinary Committee was able to consider submissions from Procuring Entities (PEs) to either delist or suspend eight contractors. The committee considered the submissions and referred five of them back to the PE’s to provide additional information whilst one is still under consideration. The report further states that following the recommendation from the Suspension and Delisting Disciplinary Committee, the board delisted Kentz Botswana (Pty) Ltd, and warned Mylan Laboratories.
Weekend Post can authoritatively reveal that atleast three more companies namely (names withheld) are currently subject of DCEC investigation but do not appear in the report either for suspension or delisting from doing business with PPADB.
This publication has it on good authority that in August 2014, DCEC launched an investigation on the affairs of PPADB in which at least these three companies were implicated in a series of maladministration and dubious awarding of tenders. DCEC has entrusted two agents to start investigating the fraudulent award of tenders which also implicate a significant number of employees in the management of PPADB.
The government crime busting agency was informed earlier last year about the bid rigging and fraudulent award of tenders at PPADB orchestrated by certain employees and a group of company directors to influence the outcomes of the tenders.
The three companies which are currently subject of investigations are being probed for fraud relating to winning tenders they do not qualify for through conspiring with some members of the PPADB staff to manipulate the bidding process. It has transpired that since 2009, the directors of these companies have consistently won the tenders by conniving with some of the PPADB staff members to exalt their companies into higher grades, therefore helping them to win more lucrative tenders they ordinarily do not qualify for.
PPABD has contractor grading ceiling in which companies are graded into different categories depending on the experience of the company, qualifications of its employees and equipments/assets which the company owns to determine the magnitude of tenders they can be awarded. In the construction category, which is currently under DCEC investigations the grades are; OC, A, B, C, D, and E. The threshold of tenders a company can be awarded falls under the following categories are; Grade OC (P1.5 million), Grade A (P4 million), Grade B (20 million), Grade C (P40 million), Grade D, (P85 million) while Grade E has unlimited threshold.
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 related services. This is coupled with the registration and grading of contractors who so which to do business with government. This is to ensure that projects are prudentially managed to ensure value for money in the procurement and disposal of assets.
In an economy of Botswana’s size, government continues to be the main player and the biggest provider of business to private sector. Government expenditure through public procurement activities represents about 70% of the Gross Domestic Product. This essentially means the well functioning of the economy in Botswana solely rest on the efficiency and the integrity of its public procurement system when compared to most developed countries where public procurement account to a less percentage of up to 20 percent.
PPAD has partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) which supports governments in reforming their public procurement systems to ensure cost savings and better service delivery. OECD promotes efficient and effective public procurement system because it considers public procurement the backbone of a well-functioning government that ensures delivering quality services to the public.
In August 2012 PPADB entered into Memorandum of Understanding with Competition Authority (CA) and DCEC with the objective of ; regulating public procurement and deal with corruption and economic crime, preventing and addressing anti-competitive practices in the economy, and to remove constraints on the free play of competition in the market.
The purpose of the MoU was to strengthen cooperation amongst the three entities and facilitate timely sharing of relevant information to support the work of each party and to collectively contribute to the creation of a good business environment that inspires investor confidence. According to the Contractor Code of Conduct, a contractor shall not submit false information during the tendering process in order to deceive the Board, a procuring or disposing entity or clients into believing that the contractor has capabilities and capacities to perform contracts which the contractor is not capable of doing.
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.
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.
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.