Govt to appeal High Court decision on N$7 billion airport

by Edgar Brandt

Govt to appeal High Court decision on N$7 billion airport

Windhoek

President Hage Geingob says government will appeal a decision by the High Court which ruled that the cancellation of a N$7 billion tender to a Chinese company – for the upgrading and expansion of Hosea Kutako International Airport – was unlawful and invalid.
The instruction to discontinue all activities relating to the specific expansion was given by Minister of Works and Transport, Alpheus !Naruseb, to Namibia Airports Company (NAC), which awarded the tender to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction.

“We are going to appeal, obviously. It was a parastatal that gave the tender to a Chinese company and I said ‘where is the money going to come from?’,” said Geingob on Wednesday at the US-Africa Trade and Investment Summit in Washington DC.



“From Treasury, and if it is going to come from Treasury, then you must follow Treasury rules, which means there must be a proper tender process. Now how can the court say I was wrong? I cannot understand that. That is not helpful.”

He added that his administration is determined to curb corruption and cited the new Public Procurement Act as the relevant legislation that will incorporate an independent body to oversee the tender process. The directive was given to NAC during December 2015 to discontinue work on the massive project, which was communicated to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction on January 5, 2016.

This decision prompted Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, as the winning bidder, to challenge the decision in the High Court on February 11, 2016.

High Court Judge Shafimana Ueitele handed down the ruling on September 9, 2016. On the same day, government suffered another hurdle when the High Court dismissed its counter application in connection with the same matter and was then ordered to pay the legal bills of the construction company. The four respondents in the case were !Naruseb, Geingob, NAC and Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein.

“They went to court and while I was flying I was told I lost the case. Now how do they help us to curb corruption? I declared war against poverty and war against corruption,” Geingob lamented.

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