Adforce Namibia, the other Namibian company that bid for the hotly contested multi-million dollar tender to publish the country’s telephone directory, says it is not interested in protesting against the awarding of the tender.
The tender in question has an estimated value in excess of N$40 million per annum and has always attracted controversy whenever it was advertised for re-issue every fifth year.
For the last 10 years the tender has, since 2011, been managed by TDS Directory Operations Namibia, a joint venture by a South African and local entity, Ripanga Investment Holdings.
New Era earlier this week reported that two Namibian companies, Adforce Namibia and Namibia Directory & Media Services, have deemed the process of awarding the tender as a systematic effort on the part of Telecom to ensure that TDS keeps the contract.
However, Adforce’s executive director, Abius Akwaake – who did not respond to the invitation to comment on the first story – responded to the report saying it should not be assumed that his company joined forces with Namibia Directory & Media Services to challenge Telecom.
“I want to categorically clear our name and on record that Adforce Namibia is not part to any action and also not in union with anyone. Our business practice is that of integrity, respect for the rules of law and due process and we’ll accept a decision on whatever Tender outcome, as we have done in the past 16 years of our existence,” Akwaake said.
New Era has obtained information that grievances over the perceived irregularities on the process of awarding the Telecom tender have been conveyed to Communications Minister Tjekero Tweya.
Akwaake nevertheless distanced his company from those who have taken their grievances to Tweya, saying they are neither representatives of Adforce nor act on behalf of Adforce.
“I am completely taken aback by the article, in which we are positioned as the second company that is protesting a decision regarding the Telecom Tender,” he wrote, adding that the article has painted a wrongful picture of the stance of his company.
This is not the first time grievances regarding the process to award the telephone directory tender were taken to Tweya. On July 13 the Swapo Youth League acting secretary and parliamentary backbencher Veikko Nekundi wrote to the communications minister, alleging irregularities in the tender process.
Meanwhile Olaf Brinkmann, the head of marketing at Trudon in South Africa, which owns TDS Namibia, responded to allegations of undue process by saying the tender was put out by Telecom Namibia.
“Corporate governance rules dictate that whilst the evaluation by Telecom Namibia Procurement is ongoing and not [yet] awarded, all questions you have sent to TDS Namibia, should be directed to Telecom Namibia directly, as the process owners. TDS Namibia follows all rules and requirements when submitting tenders and we have done so in this instance,” Brinkmann said.
Alec Boois, a representative of Namibia Directory & Media Services, earlier confirmed to New Era that he, as company chairperson, wrote to Telecom to report what he termed as “highly unusual requests”.
Boois hinted that his company might ask other Namibian bidders to prevent Telecom from awarding the tender to TDS Namibia, pending a formal review.
He based his suspicion on the fact that Telecom – weeks after the closing of the tender – requested all companies that placed bids to submit documents, including certificates of good standing, skills and qualifications data and CVs of key permanent personnel.
Boois was adamant that contrary to what Telecom alleged, Namibia Directory & Media Services had submitted all the documents with its initial submission prior to the closing of the tender.
“All tenderers were to comply with these requirements and should have been submitted with the tender on the deadline, 21st June 2016, which was clearly communicated to all to comply,” Boois told New Era.