Works and transport permanent secretary Willem Goeiemann says he was duly guided by consultants’ evaluation of five tenderers who bid for the N$1 billion construction of new offices for the prime minister.
The controversial tender had been sent back and forth between the Tender Board of Namibia and the works ministry since May this year, with claims of a political hand in the tender process.
At the centre of the controversy is businessman Vaino Nghipondoka’s company Babyface Civils, which formed a joint venture with Chinese partner China Jiangxi International.
Goeiemann said Babyface Civils and its Chinese partner submitted the lowest bid – of slightly over N$1 billion.
Babyface Civils’ tender offer was N$12, 3 million lower than the bid of N$1, 02 billion of Trans Afrique Trading Enterprises with Jiangsu Zhengtai Construction, the PS explained.
Babyface Civils’ bid was also N$40 million lower than the bid of N$1, 04 billion of New Era Investments and Octagon Construction.
The next shortlisted tender was the joint venture bid of New Era Investments and Octagon Construction.
Goeiemann denied having any influence on the tender board.
During a press briefing this week, Goeiemann said five tenders were evaluated by both the principal agent (Rynand Mudge Architects) and the quantity surveyor (Jordan, Oosthuysen and Nangolo) who then recommended the lowest evaluated tenderer to him for consideration on April 30 this year. The five tenderers are Oshipe Turnkey Projects and China International Namibia Ltd, Babyface Civils CC and China Jiangxi International Namibia, Trans Afrique Trading Enterprises CC and Jiangsu Zhengtai Construction, Namibia Construction and New Era Investments together with Octagon Construction CC.
“We are talking about a high office – the PM’s office. The project started before me. And at my level for this particular tender, I don’t make decisions. I don’t instruct the tender board on who should get the tender, I can only recommend to them,” he said.
“On 15 May, 2016, I as accounting officer of the Ministry of Works and Transport, sent my recommendation for consideration to the Tender Board of Namibia, which has the final authority to award the tender to the successful tenderer,” he said.
According to the principal agent Rynand Mudge Architects, Oshipe Turnkey Projects and its Chinese partner’s tender amount is N$52 million below the quantity surveyor’s cost plan – meaning the shortfall is too huge.
Mudge also said Oshipe’s plant and personnel were found to be insufficient for a project of this magnitude.
“It is very worrisome that the Namibian partner in the joint venture, Oshipe Turnkey Projects has only one staff member registered with the Social Security Commission (SSC). The cover page of the civil works tender document has not been completed. The tender or exemption number for the project was not reflected on the good standing certificate of the Social Security Commission,” Mudge said.
For Babyface Civils and its Chinese partner, Mudge found them to be “responsive” as all mandatory documents were in order, and sufficient plant and equipment had also been listed with minimal errors detected.
Namibia Construction was unresponsive as it failed to initial pages 1-5 of Section No. 1 of the General of the Civil Works tender document as well as the parts of the Receiver of Revenue.
“The tenderer did not submit an affirmative action certificate and therefore was disqualified,” Mudge said.
New Era Investments and Octagon Construction were responsive as all mandatory documents were found in order with sufficient plant and equipment listed.
He said only three of the tenderers qualified.
“This ministry therefore had no choice but to recommend to the tender board [that] they accept the lowest qualifying tender submitted by Messrs Babyface Civils CC and China Jiangxi International (Namibia) (Pty) for the construction of the second office of the prime minister in Windhoek for the tendered amount of N$1.03 billion,” he said.