CPBN in rights violation row

By Hilary Mare

ERONGO Quarry & Civil Works has launched legal proceedings against the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN), citing rights violation in the award of Nampower’s N$66 million tender to supply coal to Van Eck Power station.

The tender was recently awarded to a joint venture of Coleman Transport and Three Quest Trading, who were adjudged to have beaten competition from 22 companies that were vying for the bid, including Erongo Quarry & Civil Works.

In disagreement over the award process, legal firm Murorua, Kurtz and Kasper Inc, representing Jason Gurirab, the managing director of Erongo Quarry & Civil Works, wrote to CPBN chairperson Patrick Swartz raising concerns that their client’s rights were not only grossly violated but that he was moreover not afforded enough time in which to assert his rights in terms of Section 59 of the Procurement Act.

In their rights violation claim, the lawyers said subsequent to the bid outcome notice, their client elected to request a briefing (in terms of Section 57) on 10 October 2019, being the same day he also received the notice, but the CBPN played ‘cat and mouse’ until the deadline for appeals lapsed.

“Our client’s request was acknowledged by means on an email correspondence sent to him on 11 October 2019. Consequent thereto our client followed up with an email correspondence on 15 October after no response was forthcoming from your organization.

“Eventually on 16 October 2019, coincidentally also the last day of the seven days afforded to our client, he saw an email correspondence come through proposing a meeting at 12h00 but he however informed that the time proposed was not suitable as our client still had to drive from Walvis Bay, to which he got a response informing him that his request was not an unreasonable one. However the team was busy with another meeting they had scheduled and he would be informed accordingly of any new developments.

“Our client despite the said correspondence received no communication informing him about any change in circumstances only to receive an email correspondence at 16h02, informing him that the team is waiting for him since 15h30. Our client only saw this email at 14h35, no attempt was even made by your organization to call our client to inform him that the team has been waiting for them since 15h30.

“The seven day period afforded to our client came to an end at 17h00 during the debriefing session. The meeting was also not conclusive as [Martins], who formed part of the team had promised to revert back to our client with additional information that was requested during the meeting,” the letter to Swartz read in part.

Seeking relief, the lawyers asked that Erongo Quarry & Civil Works be afforded an extension until Thursday, 24 October to bring his application to be heard. Questions sent to CPBN had not been responded to by end of business day on Wednesday.