Legal wrangle looms over awarding Mtshabezi tender
2012 July 17 01:35:01 | 1512 Views
A legal wrangle is looming over the awarding of a tender for the electrification of the Mtshabezi pipeline with a Bulawayo company, United Associates (Pvt) Ltd, approaching the Administrative Court, the Chronicle reported.
The State Procurement Board is cited as the 1st respondent in the application while A.C Controls (Pvt) Ltd is the 2nd respondent.
The State Procurement Board recently came under fire from business people and prospective bidders on allegations of corruptly awarding tenders to their â€œfavouredâ€ bidders.
Prospective bidders from Bulawayo and surrounding areas alleged a lack of transparency in the State Procurement Board, saying it was bringing companies from Harare to take up tenders yet there would be many other bidders meeting specifications.
The problem reportedly emerges when such bidders fail to deliver or provide sub-standard service while also bringing workers from Harare.
The matter of the Mtshabezi water project electrification tender has now spilled to the courts as United Associates (Pvt) Ltd seeks an order nullifying the tender awarded to A.C Controls and that it be awarded to them.
On 20 January this year, the State Procurement Board invited tenders for the electrification of the Mtshabezi pipeline.
Tenders were opened on 21 February after a site visit on 31 January.
On 14 May, United Associates received a letter dated 16 April from the State Procurement Board advising them that the tender had been awarded to the second respondent.
In their Notice of Appeal filed by the company through their lawyer, Mr Shepherd Chamunorwa, of Calderwood, Bryce Hendrie and Partners, United Associates say the decision by the State Procurement Board to award the tender to the 2nd respondent is grossly outrageous in its defiance of logic that no reasonable tribunal faced with the same facts would have made the award to the second respondent.
The company said their bid was rejected because it allegedly did not submit proof of contracting category, did not submit quotations, did not state the terms of payments and did not submit a method statement.
â€œOn the other hand, the 2nd respondent was held to be â€˜fully compliantâ€™. It is not apparent on what consideration they were deemed to be so.
â€œThe 1st respondent failed to take into account a number of material considerations, namely that the bid submitted by the appellant was lower than the one for the 2nd respondent and that the appellant has the same as, or better than capacity to the 2nd respondent to carry out the project that the parties had tendered for,â€ wrote United Associates (Pvt) Ltd.
It is their contention that adjudication process was not transparent and was amenable to abuse by members or official of the State Procurement Board.
They prayed to the court to set aside the award to the 2nd respondent and order that the tender be awarded to them or alternatively that the tender be started de novo on such terms as the court may deem fit.
Despite the filing of the Notice of Appeal, the State Procurement Board has reportedly failed to comply because once an appeal is noted work should stop.
Last month, the Minister of Water Resources, Management and Development, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo blamed delays in awarding tenders by the State Procurement Board in the latest failure to beat the completion of the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline.
â€œThey delayed in making a resolution regarding the procurement of motors and pumps and also delayed in awarding the tender for power lines that will bring electricity from Gwanda.
â€œThe buildings and the pipeline have been completed and we are now waiting for the pumps to be brought from South Africa and installed.
â€œWe will use generators until power has been connected,â€ said Minister Nkomo.
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