BIH tender re-awarded after court decision
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
The construction of Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) headquarters is set to make headway after many failed starts in the tendering process. The Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) Board Tender Committee has reviewed the award of the tender for professional consultancy services (Quantity Surveying). The tender was initially awarded to Ogaketse Mathware’s Fitzwilliam Partnership but it seems it now has been re-awarded to the joint venture of Davis Langdon and Mmile Mhutsiwa & Associates, after the latter successfully sued BDC at the High court for giving the project unlawfully to the former.
Media reports here say a senior partner at Davis Langdon-an AECOM company, Frederick Selolwane, confirmed that his company has been awarded the tender and is undertaking the project. “We are busy at work. I am very happy that this matter has finally been concluded and the deserving bidder awarded the contract,” he said.
At the end of June, a letter signed by the Secretary to the new Board Tender Committee Tidimalo Poonyane explained after the High Court after set aside the previous tender award: “The [BDC] Board Tender Committee duly met and resolved to award the tender to the Davis Langdon/Mmile Mhutsiwa Joint Venture Partnership. We accordingly advise that your tender bid has been successful.”
Then she advised that BDC was awaiting handover from the former contractor-Fitzwilliam Partnership and invited the joint venture partnership to a meeting at a later date to agree on new parameters in light of the work already carried out. The project had been running for more than eight months and various stages have been completed and payments made to Fitzwilliam Partnership in the sum of USD130 000.00 in fees for stage 1 and 2 of the total of about USD1 743 935
The BDC board was revamped after a few glitches at the corporation and the new BDC Board is made up of former Debswana MD, Blackie Marole (Chairman), the BDC CEO, Maria Nthebolan, Armando Lionjanga, N.M Masisi, M.D Modise, V. Molatedi, Barney Molosiwa, Solomon Sekwakwa, Serwalo Tumelo and Reginah Vaka.
High Court judge Justice Isaac Lesetedi had ruled on March 30, 2012 that BDC had unlawfully awarded the two tenders for the Civil and Structural Engineering and Quantity Surveying components of the BIH project to Pula Consultants and the Fitzwilliam Partnership, respectively.
Reports say in the Quantity Survey component, the judge remitted the matter back to BDC board tender committee “for a proper evaluation on the same material that was before (them) on 24 November 2010”.
“The judge ruled that he could not reverse the award to Pula consultants because information before court showed that they had carried out 85 percent of the works. Bergstan, who had also been recommended by the Evaluation Panel, appealed the Civil and Structural Engineering tender award to Pula Consultants, but lost the appeal at the July session of the Court of Appeal. The BDC Board Tender Committee that was found to have illegally awarded the two tenders consisted of Odirile Merafhe as Chairman, N.K Kwele, Maria Nthebolan, R.M Phole, James Kamyuka and B.G Mmualefe,” said reports.