WINDHOEK, 22 MAY (NAMPA) -The joint venture of French and Egyptian companies Vinci-Orascom withdrew its legal challenge on the awarding of the Neckartal Dam construction tender against the Namibian Government in the High Court on Wednesday.
Windhoek-based lawyer Advocate Raymond Heathcote (SC) represented Vinci-Orascom Joint Venture in the legal challenge, and withdrew the application against the Namibian authorities a few minutes before the hearing was about to start before a bench comprising Windhoek High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb and judges Dave Smuts and Shafimana Ueitele this morning.
?My client decided not to proceed with the legal challenge on the Neckartal Dam construction tender against the Namibian Government. We are, hereby, withdrawing our case against the Namibian Government,? said Heathcote without giving further details.
South African legal senior counsel (SC) Vincent Maleka, who represented the Namibian authorities in the matter - being the chairperson of the Tender Board of Namibia; the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry; the Ministry of Rural Development; and the Ministry of Finance - welcomed the withdrawal of the case against his clients.
Jean Marais and Charmaine van der Westhuizen, who represented Italian dam construction firm Salini Costruttori S.p.A - the company which won the tender for the construction of the multibillion-dollar Neckartal Dam - also welcomed the withdrawal.
Vinci-Orascom Joint Venture was one of the unsuccessful bidders for the Neckartal Dam construction tender together with CSC Joint Venture.
Meanwhile, CSC Joint Venture did, however, not withdraw their legal challenge on the Neckartal Dam tender against the Namibian Government.
CSC Joint Venture's legal application challenging the tender is now underway before court.
In this application, CSC Joint Venture is asking the court to order the Namibian Government to stop the implementation of the tender until the court has given its ruling on the pending legal challenge.
South African legal senior counsel (SC) Graig Watt-Pringle and Tania Prinsloo are representing CSC Joint Venture.
In the matter, the Tender Board of Namibia announced on 15 March 2013 that it had decided to award the contract for the construction of the Neckartal Dam to Salini Costruttori S.p.A, which had submitted a bid of N.dollars 2,873 billion.
Vinci-Orascom's tender bid was N.dollars 2,876 billion, while the bid of CSC Joint Venture - a joint venture between Italian, South African and Kuwaiti companies - was N.dollars 2,724 billion.
Although a firm of consulting engineers which evaluated the bids of the three shortlisted tenderers recommended that the contract be awarded to Vinci-Orascom, the Tender Board decided to award it to Salini S.p.A instead.
According to the Tender Board, it decided that it could not entrust Vinci-Orascom to build a dam of the magnitude of Neckartal because, in its opinion, the joint venture would have inexperienced key personnel working on the project.
The Tender Board also stated that Salini S.p.A has key experienced people in dam construction, as well as the best technical know-how of all the shortlisted tenderers.
The Neckartal Dam is to be constructed in the Fish River, about 40 kilometres west of Keetmanshoop near the settlement of Berseba in the Karas Region.
The dam will have a wall of 518 metres long and 69.5 metres high, and will create a water reservoir covering an area of about 39 square kilometres.
The dam will provide water for an irrigation scheme, which is to be established on about 5 000 hectares of land downstream from the dam.
The Neckartal Dam, upon completion, will be Namibia's largest dam after the Hardap Dam in the Hardap Region.
Maleka represented the Namibian Government, acting on the instructions of the Office of the Government Attorneys.
He was assisted by Windhoek-based lawyers, Dr Sackey Akweenda and Advocate Herman Oosthuizen.
Heathcote was assisted by Ramon Maasdorp.
A judgement on the legal costs for the withdrawal of the application by Vinci-Orascom Joint Venture will be made public in court on Thursday morning at about 10h00, said Judge-President Damaseb as he reserved such judgement.