31 May 2014 14:30pm
OTJIWARONGO, 31 MAY (NAMPA) The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Andrew Ndishishi allegedly authorised the tender for the renovation of a section of the Otjiwarongo State Hospital.
Otjozondjupa Regional Health Director, Maria Kavezembi on Wednesday told Nampa in an interview that Ndishishi had apparently given the go-ahead for the renovations which began in November 2013.
Kavezembi said this at her office in the presence of seven heads of departments at the Otjiwarongo State Hospital and regional health directorate.
The renovations are being carried out by a Windhoek-based company, Hatworld Trading CC which is owned by Herold Gaeseb.
These renovations, which include work on the hospitals kitchen, began in November 2013 at a cost of about N.dollars 1,3 million according to quotations for the job seen by this news agency.
The Otjozondjupa Regional Health Director initially said last week that she does not know how the contractor got the tender to do the renovations since she was not involved in the process and did not identify what work needed to be done.
There was no tendering process at all for this project, how was it awarded to the contractor? Kavezembi wanted to know on Wednesday.
She said the Otjiwarongo State Hospitals management only came to know about the contractor over a weekend in November last year after the hospitals main water pipeline was shut off by the contractor.
Kavezembis office then instituted an investigation into the matter and found that Hatworld Trading CC was awarded the tender of more than N.dollars 1 million in October 2013 to do the renovations.
Kavezembi alleged that it was a backdoor deal as the regional health directorates management team was not involved in the awarding of the tender.
Our investigations also found out that the renovations were below standard as cheap building materials were being used. I demanded that the work be stopped immediately until all issues are sorted out, she stated.
Kavezembi said she thereafter personally telephoned Ndishishi to inform him of the matter, and also sent several letters to the PS.
During the week of 05 December 2013, Ndishishi travelled to Otjiwarongo from Windhoek to inspect the section under renovation.
Kavezembi noted that shortly after the inspection, the PS called a meeting where he instructed that the renovations should be allowed to continue, allegedly irrespective of whether the tender was awarded to the contractor procedurally or not.
The purchase order and claim form for work on the project was allegedly stamped by Ndishishis office, with the stamp on the documents authorising the renovation dated 05 November 2013.
Approached for comment last Monday, Ndishishi denied any knowledge of the renovations underway at the Otjiwarongo State Hospital.
He also asked who had approved the renovations.
That is something I am not aware of. I never signed documents for any renovations at a section of the Otjiwarongo State Hospital, nor authorised somebody to do so, he told Nampa in a telephonic interview.
The PS said no renovations can be carried out at any State hospital in the country without his knowledge, as he is the accounting officer of the Health Ministry.
The public relations officer (PRO) in the Ministry Health and Social Services, Esther Paulus on her part denied irregularities in the renovation project.
She said the project was given to Hatworld Trading CC last year by the office of the Otjozondjupa Regional Health Director, adding that the ministrys head office in Windhoek only coordinates capital projects in the ministry, and not minor renovation projects such as the one underway in Otjiwarongo.
Paulus said since the project had gone through Kavezembis office, there was nothing dubious about it.
On Friday, attempts to obtain comment from Ndishishi were futile as calls and text messages to his cellphone went unanswered, while Paulus also refused to comment.
I dont want to talk about that tender issue anymore, I am done with it, she said.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi was also contacted for comment on the matter on Friday morning, but he was attending a graduation ceremony in the capital.