The Central Procurement Board’s (CPB) review panel has thrown out an appeal lodged by Prestige Diamond and Global Diamond Valuators Namibia over the awarding of the lucrative diamond valuation tender to Gem Diamonds Namibia.
The panel made up of Fillemon Immanuel as chairperson, Browny Mutrifa, Selma-Penna Utonih, Mekondjo Nghipandulwa and Amon Ngavetene last month found no legal merit in the appeal lodged by the losing bidders.
“Alternatively, the Review Panel found no evidence that the warding of the tender is marred by irregularities as alleged by the applicants. In the result the Review Panel makes the following order: That the applications for review in terms of Section 59(1) of the Public Procurement Act, No.15 of 2015, lodged by Prestige Diamonds and Global Diamonds Valuators, respectively, and which were in the end consolidated into one action, are hereby dismissed in terms of Section 60(a),” the ruling by the panel read.
This comes as it emerged that the bidding valuation price of 0.25 percent per hour of the diamonds valuated submitted by Gem Diamonds Namibia is the same amount that Global Diamond Valuators Namibia is currently charging government for its services.
In its ruling the panel noted that the bidding price of N$303.8 million, which had been calculated by the evaluation committee of Procurement Board after Gem Diamonds refused to submit the bid amount, had been noted to have been more than N$70 million higher than that submitted by current service provider, Global Diamond Valuators Namibia in its bids, was merely an indication price, but not the actual price as the actual valuation price could only be determined when diamond parcels for valuation are availed to the winning bidder.
“It is therefore reasonable and logical not to expect a bidder to provide a total bid amount based on an unknown quantity of items of which the sought services are to be rendered” the report read.
This comes as the two companies had challenged the awarding process that saw Gem Diamonds Namibia emerging on the top of the tender process, despite concerns over its lack of expertise in the diamond valuation space and its higher bid price.
Initially Prestige Diamonds had been awarded the tender by the Procurement Board, a decision which was later overturned in favor of Gem Diamonds Namibia.
The awarding process of the diamond valuation tender has been a contested issue, amid concerns that the recent calls for the intervention of Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo, whose demand for an explanation of the outcome in favour of the higher bidder, will further delay the awarding process.
The decision by the two companies to appeal the decision to award Gem Diamonds Namibia the tender, was in line with the Central Procurement Board of Namibia regulations that losing bidders have seven days after the awarding of a tender to delay the final award and bring the matter under review.
The delay in the awarding process has proved beneficial to Diamond Valuators Namibia, which has been valuating diamonds on behalf of government since 2007 and continues in that role until a new valuator is finally decided.
The company lost out on the lucrative tender. Having submitted a N$233 million bid.
Under the existing system according the media reports, the government valuator receives and values the diamonds from Namdeb, which is jointly owned by the government and De Beers, are then passed to the Namibia Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) – another joint venture between the government and De Beers.
NDTC then supplies 85 percent of the diamonds to special customers called sight holders, while 15 percent is sent to Namib Desert Diamonds (Namdia).