Government appeals N$7bn tender verdict

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WINDHOEK, 31 October 2016 - KLM Royal Dutch airlines' inaugural flight between Amsterdam and Windhoek landed at Hosea Kutako International Airport on Monday. (Photo by: Martha Kanime) NAMPA

Maria Amakali

Windhoek-Government last week approached the Supreme Court to appeal the High Court judgement that its (the government’s) decision to discontinue all activities relating to the upgrade and expansion of Hosea Kutako International Airport road, during December 2015, was unlawful.

The appeal application questioned whether the minister of works and transport’s instruction to Namibia Airports Company (NAC) to cancel a tender and to discontinue a project to upgrade and expand Hosea Kutako International Airport was lawful and within his powers, and whether the tender award had been validly made.

In addition, the High Court had dismissed a counter-application in connection with the matter.

The multibillion dollar tender was cancelled in December 2015 following a directive from President Hage Geingob after allegations of potential bribery and corruption running into hundreds of millions of dollars that left out other competitive bidders. There were also allegations of non-compliance with legal regulations on the part of NAC.

In February 2016 Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, which had won the N$7 billion tender, challenged the decision in the High Court and later Judge Shafimana Ueitele ruled in its favour, a verdict which did not sit well with government.

During submissions in the Supreme Court on Friday, lawyer Sisa Namandje, acting on behalf of the government on instructions from the office of the attorney general, stated that the works minister Alpheus !Naruseb acted within his mandate when he was instructed by President Geingob to direct the NAC to put on hold all activities pertaining to the tender so that the tender process can begin afresh under the auspices of the Ministry of Works and Transport under the Public Procurement Act 15 of 2015.

After hearing submissions from both parties, Chief Justice Peter Shivute informed the court that he needed time to study the facts so that a fair judgement may be passed. He postponed the case for judgement to this week.

The applicants in the matter are the ministers of finance and works and the president.
Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group and the permanent secretary of the ministry of works and transport – represented by Advocate Nazeer Cassim on instructions from Tjombe-Elago local law firm – are cited as respondents.

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