Govt fleet saga deep­ens

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

A LEAKED re­port on the gov­ern­ment’s fleet ten­der has re­vealed that the joint ven­ture com­pany seek­ing to block Bid­vest Fleet Com­pany’s con­tract was ac­tu­ally rec­om­mended by an eval­u­a­tion panel to sup­ply the ve­hi­cles.

The joint ven­ture com­pany, which con­sists of Fleet Ser­vice Le­sotho (Pty) Ltd and Le­be­lonyane (Pty) Ltd (Fleet Ser­vices), had been short­listed for the mul­ti­mil­lion-mal­oti ten­der to pro­vide ve­hi­cles and re­lated ser­vices to the gov­ern­ment.

How­ever, after the gov­ern­ment last month can­celled the ten­der and de­cided to sign a new con­tract with Bid­vest, the joint ven­ture com­pany filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the Com­mer­cial Court seek­ing to block the gov­ern­ment from “award­ing or ex­tend­ing” the con­tract to the South African firm. The com­pany also seeks a stay of ex­e­cu­tion on the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion pend­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the case which is be­fore Jus­tice Tham­sanqa Nom­ng­congo.

An­nounc­ing the new deal with Bid­vest last month, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr ’Mam­phono Khaketla said the com­pany would pro­vide com­put­erised fleet man­age­ment ser­vices for the next four years.

Un­der the new con­tract, the min­is­ter said, the gov­ern­ment would buy 600 ve­hi­cles and hire another 600 from or­di­nary Ba­sotho, with Bid­vest only man­ag­ing the fleet. She also said the gov­ern­ment de­cided to can­cel the ten­der be­cause it did not have enough money “to con­tinue that route”.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to a re­vised ten­der eval­u­a­tion re­port, a copy of which the Le­sotho Times has in pos­ses­sion, the joint ven­ture com­pany had been rec­om­mended as the re­cip­i­ent of the ten­der.

Dated 26 May 2016 and ti­tled “Ad­den­dum to Orig­i­nal Eval­u­a­tion Re­port of Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho Fleet Ser­vice Ten­der – 7/20152016” the doc­u­ment states that it is a re­vised edi­tion of the orig­i­nal sub­mit­ted by the eval­u­a­tion team on 22 March 2016.

The re­port was com­piled by an eval­u­a­tion team (ET) con­sist­ing of 10 ex­perts from the Min­istry of Fi­nance and Neo So­lu­tions (Pty) Lim­ited, namely ’ Mathabo Mphale, Mo­tolo Man­doro, Maleshoane Leko­mola, Ser­iti Keta, Mo­tale Tše­ole, Vivien Natasen, John Mcpherson, Is­mail Amod, Linga Pillay and Ken­tridge Kha­bele.

The team had been ap­pointed in Jan­uary 2016 to project-man­age, ad­min­is­ter and as­sist in the ap­point­ment of a new fleet ser­vice provider with ef­fect from 1 April 2016. The iden­ti­fied fleet re­quire­ment con­sisted of 1 100 full main­te­nance lease ve­hi­cles and ap­prox­i­mately 500 man­aged main­te­nance ve­hi­cles, “as well as ad hoc ve­hi­cles re­quired from time to time by the gov­ern­ment to as­sist with tem­po­rary re­quire­ments.”

It states that Fleet­mat­ics Ve­hi­cle Man­age­ment So­lu­tions Le­sotho (Pty) Lim­ited (Fleet­mat­ics) and Seahlolo Trans­port Lo­gis­tics (Pty) Lim­ited trad­ing as Avis Fleet Ser­vices (Seahlolo) were the other com­pa­nies short­listed for the ten­der.

The eval­u­a­tion team notes that they re­vised the re­port be­cause the ini­tial edi­tion in­cluded a ref­er­ence to a “Hur­dle Point”. This was in ref­er­ence to, Fleet­mat­ics Ve­hi­cle Man­age­ment So­lu­tions Le­sotho which was dis­qual­i­fied after in­clud­ing pric­ing in­for­ma­tion in its tech­ni­cal pro­posal. In­clud­ing pric­ing in­for­ma­tion was con­sid­ered a “ma­te­rial vi­o­la­tion of the re­quire­ments of the Re­quest for Pro­posal (RFP).

“The eval­u­a­tion team was for­mally re­quested by the Ten­der Panel on 23 May 2016 to re­vise its ini­tial fi­nal re­port due to the fact that the ini­tial re­port in­cluded a ref­er­ence to a ‘Hur­dle Point’, which it was not in­cluded in the RFP and its in­clu­sion was not au­tho­rised by the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho,” reads the re­port.

“Based on the re­moval of the Hur­dle Point, the ET noted it was re­quested to re­con­vene to com­plete its eval­u­a­tion re­port.

“Due to the fact that the re­moval of the Hur­dle Point had no prac­ti­cal ef­fect on the eval­u­a­tion per se, as the two com­pli­ant bid­ders’ tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial pro­pos­als had al­ready been eval­u­ated and scored, the ET had to re­vise the con­tents of this find­ings re­port ac­cord­ingly.”

At the con­clu­sion of both tech­ni­cal and fi- nan­cial eval­u­a­tions of the two re­main­ing com­pa­nies – Fleet Ser­vices and Seahlolo – the eval­u­a­tion team rec­om­mended that the ten­der should be awarded to Fleet Ser­vices which scored 81.85 points against 68.21 points for Seahlolo. Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, Fleet Ser­vices of­fi­cial Li­palesa Ram­phi said: “This re­port clearly shows that there is dis­hon­esty here con­sid­er­ing the date on which it was fi­nalised, which is 26 May 2016. It is clear that some­one was not happy with the out­come of this re­port in par­tic­u­lar where the eval­u­a­tion team rec­om­mended us as the pre­ferred bid­der. “Through un­scrupu­lous means, our ten­der was redi­rected to Bid­vest, which didn’t even bid for the ten­der. The law en­force­ment bodies in this coun­try should lodge an in­ves­ti­ga­tion over the can­cel­la­tion of this ten­der.” Ms Ram­phi said “it was not true” the gov­ern­ment had no money to con­tinue with the ten­der. “Where will the money the gov­ern­ment is go­ing to use to buy 600 cars and hire another 600 go­ing to come from? This is just an ex­cuse to re­di­rect our ten­der to Bid­vest.” She added the re­port was an “ad­di­tional ad­van­tage” to the joint ven­ture com­pany’s case be­fore the courts. Ef­forts to get a com­ment from Dr Khaketla proved fruit­less yes­ter­day, as she was ini­tially said to be in a meet­ing and later her phone rang unan­swered. How­ever, the min­istry’s Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Lite­moso Thatho, told the Le­sotho Times: “I can­not con­firm whether the con­tents of that re­port are true or not be­cause the re­port has not come to the at­ten­tion of my of­fice.

“How­ever, the po­si­tion of the min­istry has al­ways been clear that there is no money to con­tinue with the ten­der.”

Asked on the rea­sons Bid­vest with­drew some of its ve­hi­cles ear­lier this month, Ms Thatho said: “There is ac­tu­ally an of­fi­cial Sav­in­gram dated 27 June 2016 which an­nounced that 75 per­cent of the Bid­vest ve­hi­cles will no longer pro­vide ser­vices to gov­ern­ment on or be­fore 1 July 2016.

“So we were aware that the cars would be taken away. The gov­ern­ment, on the other hand, has not bought new cars yet, but I be­lieve there are plans un­der­way to fill that gap be­cause, al­ready, we are strug­gling to per­form some du­ties after the cars were taken away from us.”

I can­not con­firm whether the con­tents of that re­port are true or not be­cause the re­port has not come to the at­ten­tion of my of­fice. How­ever, the po­si­tion of the min­istry has al­ways been clear that there is no money to con­tinue with the ten­der

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr ’Mam­phono Khaketla.

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