New twist to fleet ten­der

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

FI­NANCE Min­is­ter Dr Mam­phono Khaketla has ex­tended South African firm Bid­vest Car Rental’s con­tract to pro­vide ve­hi­cles to the govern­ment af­ter one of the com­pa­nies that failed to qual­ify for the ten­der lodged a com­plaint al­leg­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the process.

Bid­vest has been pro­vid­ing the ser­vice since tak­ing over from Avis Le­sotho on 1 Oc­to­ber 2015 with its con­tract sched­uled to end on 31 March 2016.

How­ever, the an­nounce­ment of the win­ner of the mul­ti­mil­lion-mal­oti five-year ten­der was shelved af­ter Che­be­lopele Fleet­data Con­sor­tium claimed the bid­ding process failed to meet the manda­tory re­quire­ments.

In a let­ter ad­dressed to the Pro­cure­ment Man­ager in the Min­istry of Fi­nance, Chebe-lopele de­mands the sus­pen­sion of the ten­der

process while the firm “ex­plores dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nisms”.

Dated 7 April 2016, the let­ter ar­gues that the three com­pa­nies short­listed for the ten­der (names with­held) did not meet the re­quire­ments re­lat­ing to fi­nan­cial state­ments for three years and did not have the req­ui­site ex­pe­ri­ence to carry out the ten­der.

Che­be­lopele also al­leges the bids for the short­listed com­pa­nies were not opened pub­licly by a ten­der panel.

“This con­duct con­tra­vened reg­u­la­tion 27 (3) (of the Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Reg­u­la­tion of 2007) in that the ten­der panel failed to an­nounce and make a rel­e­vant record of the ten­der­ers’ names, the ten­der­ers’ prices, al­ter­na­tive ten-

der prices if al­lowed end to in­di­cate whether the ten­der se­cu­rity and other manda­tory doc­u­ments re­quired by the in­vi­ta­tion to ten­der had been sub­mit­ted or not,” reads the let­ter.

It goes on to al­lege that the ten­der pro­cesses was han­dled by prin­ci­pal sec­re­taries with the de­ci­sions re­lat­ing to the award of the ten­der be­ing made by cabi­net.

“We sub­mit with re­spect that this ap­proach was highly ir­reg­u­lar be­cause Reg­u­la­tion 3 clearly stip­u­lates bod­ies which must con­sti­tute the pro­cure­ment unit when car­ry­ing out pub­lic pro­cure­ment,” states the let­ter.

“It is sig­nif­i­cant to point out that the cabi­net is not one such body. This reg­u­la­tion must be read with reg­u­la­tion 50 (1) which re­quires the

Chief Ac­count­ing Of­fi­cer to es­tab­lish a ten­der panel with func­tions set out in reg­u­la­tion 50 (3).”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Min­istry of Fi­nance spokesper­son, Lite­moso Thatho said the ex­ten­sion was made by Dr Khaketla on 1 April 2016 af­ter the ten­der­ing process took longer than ex­pected.

She con­firmed re­ceipt of the let­ter from Che­be­lopele, say­ing of­fi­cials from the min­istry were work­ing on ad­dress­ing the com­plaint.

On how much the govern­ment would pay for the fleet ten­der, Ms Thatho said: “It is priv­i­leged in­for­ma­tion that we can­not share with­out the au­tho­ri­sa­tion of the com­pany in­volved in the con­tract.

“All we can con­firm is that Bid­vest is con­tracted to pro­vide us with be­tween 1 000 and 1 200 ve­hi­cles.”

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