Po­lice chief speaks out

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

Smally Trad­ing Com­pany has ap­pealed a High Court rul­ing dis­miss­ing its bid to nul­lify a con­tract gov­ern­ment en­tered into with four firms for the sup­ply of po­lice uni­forms.

The com­pany had ini­tially ap­proached the High Court on 14 April 2016 con­test­ing the con­tract be­tween the gov­ern­ment and Lekhotla Matšaba, Cubana Shells, Cubana Shells Hold­ings (Pty) Ltd and Naledi Out­door Ad­ver­tis­ing (Pty) Ltd.

Smally Trad­ing Com­pany also wanted the court to stop the Min­istry of Po­lice’s Pro­cure­ment Unit, Deputy Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and Min­istry of Po­lice and Public Safety, from dis­burs­ing any funds to the afore­men­tioned firms pend­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the case.

How­ever, Jus­tice Lisebo Chaka-makhooane dis­missed the ap­pli­ca­tion with costs on 19 April 2016, stat­ing the court had no ju­ris­dic­tion to hear the ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause there was a manda­tory pro­ce­dure the ap­pli­cant should have fol­lowed be­fore ap­proach­ing the court.

Jus­tice Chaka-makhooane said Smally Trad­ing Com­pany did not com­ply with pro­vi­sions of the Public Pro­cure­ment Reg­u­la­tions 2007 be­fore ap­proach­ing the High Court.

Reg­u­la­tion 54, sub-reg­u­la­tion one, re­quires any­one with a le­git­i­mate in­ter­est in the con­tract to sub­mit a writ­ten com­plaint to the Min­istry of Po­lice’s Pro- cure­ment Unit within three cal­en­dar months af­ter the award­ing of the con­tract.

How­ever, Smally Trad­ing Com­pany le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Phoofolo As­so­ciates, filed a no­tice of ap­peal on Mon­day in which the com­pany ar­gued “the learned judge erred in hold­ing that the court did not have ju­ris­dic­tion to en­ter­tain the mat­ter”.

“The learned judge could not have ar­rived at the con­clu­sion that the court did not have ju­ris­dic­tion be­cause no ev­i­dence had been fur­nished on af­fi­davits by any of the re­spon­dents to mo­ti­vate the sub­mis­sion,” reads part of the grounds of ap­peal.

Act­ing Deputy Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Po­lice Ezekiel Senti said last week af­ter the court vic­tory that the ten­der process had been above board.

SACP Senti said the com­plaint lodged by Smally Trad­ing Com­pany had come as a sur­prise as they had done ev­ery­thing by the book.

“It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to see that Ba­sotho also get a fair share of the spoils in devel­op­ing this coun­try’s econ­omy,” he said.

“Ba­sotho should be given pri­or­ity when such ten­ders are avail­able, un­like in the old days when we used to or­der our uni­forms from Lon­don.”

Asked to com­ment on the ap­peal yes­ter­day, SACP Senti re­ferred the Le­sotho Times to the min­istry’s public re­la­tions of­fice.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from the of­fice in ques­tion.

- File pic.

’MAPOSHOLI Mosothoane with some of the mer­chan­dise

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