The parastatal organization, Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has come out with guns blazing at the foremost powerful Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration for “illegal” transactions that flouted the PPAD Act.
This emerged following PPADB’s decision on the 5th March 2020 board sitting that rejected the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration’s request for a backdated approval with regard to a 6 million Pula debt to Avani Hotel pertaining to tender PPADB 0/5/1/6-2. According to a PPADB official notice: “it was submitted on the 2nd March 2020, that the National Assembly’s retroactive approval request to pay Avani Hotel Resort & Casino an amount of BWP 6, 217, 751. 25 for accommodation and meals for Members of Parliament and their spouses, from 31st October 2019 to 20th December 2019” and that the “decision was not approved.”
When approached by Weekend Post which sought clarity on the controversial matter, Public Relations and Education Manager Charles Keikotlhae, indeed confirmed that PPADB rejected the Office of the President’s request. “Yes, it is true,” he told this publication upon inquiries of the note’s authenticity. When quizzed on what grounds the decision was taken he vowed that it was on the basis that OP’s move was essentially unlawful – specifically that is in contravention of PPAD Act.
“The decision not to approve was premised on the submission not satisfying Section 44 (2) of the PPAD Act as read with Section 3 of the PPAD (Retroactive Approvals) Order of 2012,” the PPADB mouth piece explained. Section 44 (2) of the PPAD Act states that; “the Board may resolve to issue a retroactive approval on any bid issued or invitation to tender where it is satisfied that a procuring or disposing entity was required to proceed with the bid or invitation due to an urgent requirement or emergency arising from special circumstance.”
In addition, section 3 of the PPAD (Retroactive Approvals) Order, 2012 reads; “the Board may by resolution approve retroactively, a bid or invitation to tender issued by a procuring or a disposing entity where the job to be performed by a selected contractor or the service to be provided by a selected service provider is urgent and necessary – (a) to protect life; or (b) to protect the environment.”
According to PPADB spokesperson, in light of the prevailing circumstances, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration should investigate the matter and determine the reasons that led to this non-compliance with the PPAD Act and take appropriate action against relevant officer(s) if reasons for their non-compliance are not justified. He then cautioned that procuring entities are requested to improve procurement planning and to give procurement matters due attention as well as follow laid down guidelines depending on circumstances that prevail at a given time.
PPADB’s role clarified in 6 million MP debts
On the same token, the PPADB official went on to clarify that PPADB does not consider requests for payment rather PPADB only “considers requests for appointment of service providers.” In this particular case he highlighted that Avani Resort and Casino was appointed “prior” to approval by the adjudicating authority (PPADB/Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC)).
Therefore, he added that the request by Office of the President was for retroactive appointment of Avani Resort and Casino for accommodation services and the Board “rejected the retroactive appointment.” On that note, Keikotlhae said the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration should refer the request to pay for services rendered to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in line with Circular FDPC 85/2/7 20 (6) dated 27th July 2010.
Why PPADB stepped in on the procurement matter
The Board is empowered to promote procurement practices which will reap the benefits of economies of scale; and encourage competition as the mechanism through which value for money can be achieved; as well as upholding fairness and equitable treatment of contractors providing works, supplies and services to government to maintain a level playing field. In addition, the board also supports accountability and transparency in the management of public procurement and disposal of public assets; and ensures integrity, fairness and public confidence in the procurement and disposal process.
The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) was enacted by an Act of Parliament [Cap 42:08] of 2001 as a parastatal organisation, operating under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP). PPADB’s primary mandate 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.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.