Big Bravo boss speaks out

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

BIG Bravo (Pty) Ltd Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Bothata Mahlala, says his com­pany “de­servedly” won a M120 mil­lion Maseru City Coun­cil ten­der to re­fur­bish roads in Matala Phase 1 and Ha-le­qele in 2013.

Mr Mahlala strongly dis­missed wide­spread claims that he only won the con­tract be­cause of al­leged links to cer­tain political heavy­weights.

His state­ments come amid claims by South Africa’s Big Bravo In­vest­ments 503 CC Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Mphu­lane Ramorena, that he was sur­prised Mr Mahlala’s firm had been awarded the lu­cra­tive ten­der de­spite a let­ter from Coun­cil in­form­ing him he had been cho­sen for the pro­ject.

Mr Ramorena has since in­sti­tuted le­gal pro­ceed­ings in the High Court’s Com­mer­cial Divi­sion against the Maseru City Coun­cil to re­cover per­for­mance guar­an­tee doc­u­ments he sub­mit­ted when he ten­dered for the job.

He claims Coun­cil has been ig­nor­ing his de­mands for the doc­u­ments hence the law­suit.

How­ever, Mr Mahlala yes­ter­day said he wanted to set the record straight re­gard­ing the ten­der and his re­la­tion­ship with Mr Ramorena.

“First of all, I want to make it clear that I have no con­nec­tion with any politi­cian and that my com­pany won the roads con­tract fairly with­out any in­flu­ence from any­one.

“As for Ramorena, we were awarded the ten­der to­gether, but we could not raise the re­quired 10 per­cent con­struc­tion per­for­mance guar­an­tee. It should be clear that we were work­ing to­gether at the time but even­tu­ally went our sep­a­rate ways due to cer­tain dis­agree­ments.

“We sim­ply could not con­tinue work­ing to­gether. How­ever, it is wrong and ma­li­cious for him to say he does not know Big Bravo (Pty) Ltd when he was part of the com­pany and he signed its reg­is­tra­tion pa­pers as one of the di­rec­tors.

“The main is­sue here is the per­for­mance guar­an­tee doc­u­ments that we ac­quired through our friends, who loaned us M1.3 mil­lion for the com­pany to se­cure the M11 mil­lion in­sur­ance needed for us to be awarded the ten­der. Ramorena was there with me at the time, so it goes with­out say­ing that we owed peo­ple and we had to re­pay the money,” said Mr Mahlala.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Mahlala, he al­legedly dis­cov­ered that Mr Ramorena owed South Africa’s Firedart and Con­struc­tion Guar­an­tee M200 000. He added Firedart wanted Mr Ramorena to re­pay this money be­fore the com­pany could pro­vide the M1.3mil­lion guar­an­tee Bravo had re­quested. The Le­sotho Times could not im­me­di­ately ver­ify th­ese claims with Firedart and Mr Ramorena.

“Ramorena did not re­lease even a cent for us to se­cure the per­for­mance guar­an­tee. It is for that rea­son that I handed the doc­u­ments to the peo­ple who loaned us the M1.3 mil­lion. The per­for­mance guar­an­tee doc­u­ments we are talk­ing about were re­leased to me a long time ago by Maseru City Coun­cil and I signed and gave them to the peo­ple we owed so that they could get their monies be­fore we got the bal­ance,” said Mr Mahlala.

He also said it had come as a shock that Mr Ramorena had opened case in the High Court to get the per­for­mance guar­an­tee pa­pers from Coun­cil when he had in­formed his li­ai­son of­fi­cer that he had al­ready re­trieved them.

“I be­lieve he has ul­te­rior mo­tives and wants to use the guar­an­tee monies to set­tle his debts as I hear that his busi­ness is fac­ing liq­ui­da­tion there in South Africa.

“It should also be known that he made with­drawals from Big Bravo (Pty) Ltd ac­counts to the tune of M1.2 mil­lion be­fore he left to set­tle debts for his South African com­pany. He com­pro­mised our pro­ject through th­ese with­draws.”

Mr Mahlala also said the roads pro­ject had now re­sumed af­ter it had been stopped last year due to cer­tain chal­lenges.

The pro­ject, he added, re­sumed in Au­gust this year and is set for com­ple­tion in Au­gust 2016.

“We had chal­lenges due to Coun­cil’s fail­ure to pay us on time, but we are now back to com­plete the pro­ject.”

Above and below: Un­fin­ished Roads in Ha Matala.

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