Top Namibian court reserves judgment in airport tendering appeal

Top Namibian court reserves judgment in airport tendering appeal

Top Namibian court has resolved to reserve their judgment on airport tendering appeal regarding the controversial multi-billion dollar airport upgrade tender involving a Chinese company.

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According to the CHIEF Justice Peter Shivute and appeal judges Sylvester Mainga and Dave Smuts after having a about three hours of oral arguments in the appeal hearing of. No indication was given when judgment would be delivered.

The project which was supposed to kick off late 2016 have been delayed for a number of months over tendering issues which have hit the rock so far.

President Hage Geingob and the ministers of finance and works are appealing a September 2016 High Court judgement which set aside as invalid, instructions directing the parastatal to stop tender processes for the upgrading of Hosea Kutako International Airport, by the minister of works and transport to the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) in December 2015.

The minister said that the tendering process was not open and there is a possibility that the Chinese company bribed top officials to win the controversial tender.

When the minister gave the instructions to the NAC, he was in turn acting on an instruction from President Geingob, who decided in December 2015 that the award of the airport upgrading contract, at a cost of US$477 (about N$6,2 billion at the current exchange rate), to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, should be cancelled and a new tender be issued because proper tender procedures had not been followed.

Geingob’s decision followed critical media coverage and a public outcry over allegations of bribery and corruption during the bid evaluation stage of the tender process, as well as claims that some of the most cost-effective bids had been sidelined and ignored.

Anhui, which eventually won the tender, challenged the cancellation of the tender in the Windhoek High Court, and succeeded when judge Shafimana Ueitele found in September last year that the minister of works had not acted in accordance with the Airports Company Act, and also did not exercise his own discretion as required by the law, when carrying out the presidential instruction to cancel the multibillion-dollar tender.

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