New tender board embroiled in controversy

21 April 2017 Author   Sonja Smith
Central Procurement Board of Namibia

The newly-established Central Procurement Board of Namibia is engulfed in controversy before its work has even begun, after one of its prominent members was accused this week of impropriety. Central Procurement Board member, Ono-Robby Nangolo, is facing a N$270,000 financial claim after he allegedly misrepresented to Anga Enterprises that they can supply protective clothing to the Central Government stores.

In May last year, Anga Enterprises won a N$5 million tender to supply various types of protective clothing to the Ministry of Works and Transport. However, a dispute arose in June between the company and the Ministry’s Central Government Stores, with regards to the specifications of black safety shoes and leather boots, which formed a part of the tender.

As a result, Anga Enterprises was prevented by the Central Government Stores from delivering the said items, and the parties referred the dispute for arbitration as per the tender agreement.

During December last year, the Arbitrator, Advocate Gerson Hinda, delivered his ruling, which was in favour of the Ministry of Works and Transport.

It is Anga’s contention that, during or about March 16, 2017, the company’s owner, Gabriela Kandolf, received a phone call from Nangolo, informing her, among other things, that the Central Procurement Board had set aside the judgment of the arbitrator.

In subsequent phone calls, Nangolo then instructed Anga to make the necessary preparations for the supply and delivery of the disputed items as the matter had been resolved.

“During the 29th March our client attempted to deliver the said items to the Central Government Stores as per your representation, but officials of the Central Government Stores refused to take delivery of the said items as they were unaware of the development which you had communicated to our client,” Anga Enterprises’ lawyers wrote to Nangolo.

“It is our instruction that your communication to our client amounts to misrepresentation, and in addition to the above-mentioned distress as a result of your misrepresentation, our client has incurred costs and suffered damages in the amount of N$271,145.00

“It is our instruction to demand from you, as we hereby do, payment within 7 days from receipt hereof, in the amount of N$272,352.50.

“In the event that you fail to adhere to the demand, we hold instruction to proceed with legal action, to recover the said amount, and seek that you be held liable for costs thereof,” the letter from the lawyers further read.

Nangolo, a legal adviser at the former Tender Board of Namibia, was key in the crafting of the Public Procurement Act, which gave birth to the Central Procurement Board.

The new board is meant to bring in more transparency to the Government procurement process, amid allegations of corruption and inefficiency at the former Tender Board.

But questions are now being raised whether keeping Nangolo, really promotes transparency in the new Central Procurement Board.

The new procurement dispensation, according to Government, is to curb and combat inefficiencies, corruption and cronyism and to improve and professionalise state sector contracting practices. 

Contacted for comment, Nangolo refused to shed light on the matter.

“I have nothing to say to you. They can threaten and sue, but all I can say is that I do not have anything to say,”Nangolo said before hanging up the phone.

Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in the US on official business.

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