Namibia: N$12 Billion Worth of Tenders Exempted
Namibian Bank Notes
THE national Tender Board, charged with the government's procurement, exempted tenders worth N$12,3 billion between 2004 and 2007, exceeding the amount for tenders awarded through the normal procurement process.
Revelations of the N$12,333 857 600 spent in four years comes a few weeks after The Namibian reported that there is a trend emerging at various ministries where they request exemptions under the guise of urgency or security concerns or to empower small and medium businesses, while the real reason is to benefit companies owned by people close to officials involved in the procurement process.
The 2004 Tender Board annual report shows that the board awarded tenders worth N$548 million and exempted tenders worth N$1 billion.
The spree continued the following year, when N$6,2 billion was exempted from public procurement while N$619 million went through the normal procedures.
In 2006, N$1,6 billion worth of tenders were given to selected bidders while N$868 million went the formal way of procurement. In that year, 638 tenders were advertised - 191 annual and 447 formal tenders.
According to the report, a total of N$3,5 billion worth of tenders were exempted from the normal process the next year, while the public got the chance to apply for work to tenders worth only N$624 million.
Current Trade and Industry Minister Calle Schlettwein, who was the chairman of Tender Board at the time, admitted in the report that exemptions in 2007/2008 financial year saw an overall increase of 112,2% compared to the previous year.
"This increase in exemption approval could be attributed to factors such as urgent construction of and extensions to classrooms due to the exceptionally high demand for classrooms in the Khomas and northern regions for the ever-increasing number of learners," Schlettwein said in the report.
The same document, which is the latest Tender Board annual report to be made public, shows that 2007 saw N$1,58 billion worth of tenders exempted for construction work, N$30 million for consultancy work and N$3,2 million for vehicles.
The handpicked companies that benefited from the exemptions are not listed in the reports.
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