Egyptian company, IBB Military Services and Accessories Suppliers, has approached the Windhoek High Court in an attempt to force the Namibia Airport Company (NAC) to settle over N$1,6 million in unpaid invoices.
IBB, a reported agent of a United States based company, Astrophysics, is owned by Egyptian national, Muhamed Omar, an alleged close friend of suspended NAC Chief Executive Officer, Tamar El-Kallawi.
The unpaid invoices emanates from a maintenance contract agreement signed between NAC and IBB, in which the Egyptian company provided training to airport staff on how to operate baggage x-ray machines and body scanners.
NAC board chair, Roger Kauta, confirmed the lawsuit, but did not say why NAC was being sued or why they had prematurely terminated the training contract with IBB.
“It is not just about the cancellation of this contract, but also other issues. As a board we have decided not to go ahead with such tenders,” Kauta said. “Judgement is coming up on November 22 and I cannot reveal any further details as the matter is before the court.”
The Windhoek Observer has established that the maintenance agreement between the two parties contained a clause that states that there shall be ‘free maintenance’ on the machines for a period of 24 months.
Despite this, insiders claim that IBB has been invoicing the airports company since 2015 when the machines arrived in the country.
“The 24 months of free maintenance on machines only lapsed in June this year, so that is the only time they are supposed to be invoicing us,”one insider said.
IBB made headlines in July last year after NAC management together with the previous board led by Ndeuhala Katonyala, awarded tenders worth hundreds of millions to one company without seeking ministerial approval first.
One of the tenders was a N$156 million contract for the supply of CCTV security cameras, desks and other equipment for Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) and Eros airport.
Another tender, valued at N$92 million, was also awarded to IBB for the supply of several scanners for the same airports.
Eyebrows were raised when NAC awarded the airport scanners tender to IBB despite another tenderer, CSS Security CC, bidding N$43 million less for the same job.
Public Enterprises Minister, Leone Jooste, then launched an investigation into the tenders and later called in the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer this week, Omar accused NAC of trying to avoid their responsibility by unilaterally cancelling a signed agreement.
“The lawsuit is over a signed contract between my company and NAC, which they cancelled and later re-advertised in newspapers. They have since given the tender to another company, but that is okay, we just want the company to settle our invoices. The invoices are for a training course we conducted sometime last year amounting to N$1, 62 million,”Omar said.
IBB has also been in the media for the wrong reasons after it was awarded a N$48 million tender to install 20 scanners at all NAC airports.
Inspections by the Namibian Police Explosives Unit revealed that the scanners do not meet international standards as they cannot detect metal objects less than 300 grams.
The explosives detective system (EDS) enables airport authorities to guard against passengers boarding planes or landing with explosives and any dangerous objects.
NAC sources, however, said this week that the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority later tested the scanners and they seem to be “working well.”