Pohamba disappointed by Neckartal delays

08 Sep 2013 06:00
KEETMANSHOOP, 08 SEP (NAMPA) – President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Friday expressed his disapproval of the delay in the awarding of the construction tender for the Neckartal Dam.
“I feel bad about the Neckartal sabotage, this project was supposed to be completed by now but that did not happen because saboteurs delayed it with a lot of excuses,” the President said.
He was speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony for the University of Namibia (Unam)’s southern campus in Keetmanshoop.
Pohamba noted that Government’s intention is that the project kicks off as soon as possible for the benefit of the //Karas Region and the country.
“They, the saboteurs, know where to go to delay the project. They know we respect the rule of law and as such we cannot interfere with what they have been doing,” he remarked.
After several challenges to the awarding of the tender, the Tender Board last month re-awarded the tender for the construction of the multi-billion dollar Neckartal Dam project to Italian dam construction company Salini S.p.A.
Salini had initially been awarded the tender in March, but the decision was challenged in court by CSC Joint Venture and was subsequently declared null and void.
The High Court ruled in April this year that the tender be sent back to be re-evaluated by the Tender Board.
To date, this tender has been reviewed three times by the Tender Board, and claims of irregularities have also emerged.
Allegations that some of the bidders attempted or had bribed permanent secretaries directly involved in the awarding of the tender prompted the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the matter. The names of those allegedly involved were sent by the ACC to Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa for her decision on whether or not to prosecute.
In December 2011, the tender was awarded to Chinese company China Henan International Cooperation Group, but this was later cancelled.
In the meantime, Egyptian company Vinci-Orascom Joint Venture which allegedly emerged top out of the evaluation process before it was awarded to Salini, is demanding that Government provide reasons to justify their decision for re-awarding the Neckartal construction tender to Salini.
A local daily newspaper also reported last month that Vinci-Orascom Joint Venture is threatening to drag the tender back to court should the Tender Board fail to provide reasons for its decision.