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Procurement Board Responds to Allegations of Corrupt Tender Award to !Gawaxab

Procurement Board Responds to Allegations of Corrupt Tender Award to !Gawaxab

Business Reporter

THE Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) has responded to allegations that the Bank of Namibia governor, Johannes !Gawaxab, received a controversial N$451 million medical supply tender in cahoots with the Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi.

This is after it is alleged that !Gawaxab did not relinquish all his business interests after assuming the position of the central bank governor, as required by law, and allegedly received the tender through Allegrow Fund, which owns 35% of the ordinary share capital of Fabupharm, the pharmaceutical company which was awarded the tender.

The central bank governor has, however, since said that these are baseless allegations, and that the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) could confirm that he has no business interest in any company registered in the country.

Sharing further clarity on the matter, Johanna Kambala, spokesperson of the procurement board said that during March 2022, the Board received a procurement request from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS).

PICTURED: Johannes !Gawaxab governor of the Bank of Namibia.

This was a procurement for the Supply and Delivery of Pharmaceutical Products and the recommended method of procurement by the MoHSS was “Open International Bidding”. This method of procurement is in accordance with section 30 of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) wherein the estimated value of the procurement exceeds the prescribed threshold (N$25 million for goods) or the goods or services are not available under competitive price and other conditions from more than one supplier in Namibia.

She added that in giving effect to these objects of the Public Procurement Act, which promotes job creation for Namibians and sourcing of locally extracted goods, the Board at its meeting held on 3rd March 2022, instructed administration to inquire with the Medicines Regulatory Council through the Ministry of Health and Social Services if there are any Namibian manufacturers of pharmaceutical products. On the 4th March 2022, the Board received a response indicating that only Fabupharm is a manufacturer in Namibia. Kambala said that based on this response, the Board took a decision in terms of Resolution CPBN-03/19/2022 to restrict 41 items for procurement from Fabupharm.

“The Board appointed a Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) on 30th June 2022 to evaluate the bid in question, in terms of sections 9(1)(i) and 26 of the PPA. This committee comprised independent, qualified, and professional individuals selected from a database compiled from applications received from members of the public and are not employees of CPBN. On 24th November 2022, the BEC submitted its first report to the Board for adjudication with a recommendation that the bid be cancelled, as the BEC could not establish the beneficial owners of one of the shareholding companies of Fabupharm (PTY) Ltd by the name of Allegrow Fund (PTY) Ltd, as required in the Instruction To Bidders (ITB) 10.1,” Kambala said.

She added that the Board adjudicated on this matter and rejected the BEC recommendation and instead directed the BEC to establish the beneficial ownership from the bidder.

“It is important to note that the BEC is a Committee of the Board appointed in terms of Section 26 of the Act. As a result, there is nothing sinister or untoward about the Board rejecting the BEC recommendation and instructing the BEC to evaluate the bidder further. This is in line with Section 9(l)(ii) which states that the Board can require the Bid Evaluation Committee where applicable to make a new or further evaluation on specified grounds. It is important to note that as per the Board Resolution CPBN-05/36/2022, the BEC in fact went and carried out the instruction of the Board and the beneficial ownership of Allegrow was established. It is devoid of any truth to state that after the BEC recommendation was rejected, the BEC was never recalled. In fact, the BEC continued with the evaluation producing three versions of the reports culminating in the awards,” Kambala said.

She concluded that a final report dated 9th July 2023 was submitted by the BEC to the Board with a recommendation that the bid be awarded to Fabupharm for twenty-seven (27) pharmaceutical items to the value of N$184,988,965.60 for a period of two years.

“The Board subsequently approved the BEC recommendation at its meeting held on 3rd August 2023 and a Notice of Selection of Award was issued on 28th March 2024. It is important to note that CPBN operates as an independent body and thus the allegations made by Amushelelo that Ipumbu Shiimi, Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises influenced the award of the bid in question is devoid of any truth,” Kambala stressed.

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