Oshakati ordered to ban company that falsified tender documents

Truth Investments CC, owned by Jafet Mvula

The Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises’ review panel has advised the Oshakati Town Council to apply for the blacklisting of a company accused of using false certificates to win a N$7,3-million road upgrading tender.

The company, Truth Investments CC, owned by Jafet Mvula, was awarded a tender by the Oshakati Town Council in August 2023 to upgrade the Okahao MR 92 intersection and Oshakati roads.

“The review panel advised the Oshakati Town Council to apply for the debarment of the bidder who submitted documents in terms of Section 68(1)(a) of the act,” an order by the review panel reads.

The order was made on 4 December 2023.

The move to blacklist Truth Investments CC comes after The Namibian in November reported the company used false certificates, claiming it had completed previous projects for two northern councils – Oshikuku and Ruacana.

The company stated in its bidding documents it had improved roads in the Oshana region, and at Ruacana, Ongwediva and Oshikuku.

Both the Oshikuku and Ruacana town councils, however, disputed these claims.

The council then cancelled the tender after one of the bidders, Alugodhi Engineering and Construction CC, submitted an objection to the review panel.

“Alugodhi Engineering requested the applicant to make an appointment with their procurement management unit to inspect and view the completion certificates for works executed by the bidder selected for award before the expiry of the standstill period,” the review panel said in its order.

The panel said the inspection of the company’s bidding found not only that certificates were not stamped, but that the amounts were not authentic.

“The meeting was held on 13 November 2023 to verify the completion certificates of the selected bidder. The applicant found that the completion certificate for the upgrading of Sam Nujoma Drive from gravel to bitumen standards with the total amount of N$7,7 million is not authentic.

“It is further noted that the certificate is not stamped and the works have been carried out with another bidder and not the selected bidder,” the review panel noted.

The review panel also said the consultants Truth Investments CC purported to have worked with on the projects disputed having worked with the company.

“The consultants for the construction of bitumen roads, access roads and stormwater drains for the agricultural centre at Ongwediva stated that they did not have any projects with the selected bidder.”

The Public Procurement Act (PPA) makes provision for entities to apply for the debarment of a bidder or supplier participating in procurement proceedings, according to Section 67(1)(a).

The debarment, if done by the Oshakati Town Council, will prohibit Truth Investments CC from participating in tender processes anywhere in the country for the next five years.

Mvula has denied wrongdoing.

Timoteus Namwandi

Oshakati Town Council chief executive Timoteus Namwandi last week confirmed that the council is aware of the advice.

“We are still consulting on that advice whether to proceed with that application or not. We are still waiting on the council to pronounce itself.

“But we have not concluded on it yet. It’s a drastic decision to make, and if we don’t do it right, we will get in trouble,” he said.

Namwandi said after the council cancelled the awarding of the contract to Truth Investments CC, it reviewed other bidders.

“We have re-evaluated. Now the process is done, and we have awarded the tender to Alugodhi Engineering,” he said.

Truth Investment CC has won various tenders in the past, including a N$14-million contract through the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) in April 2023.

The board previously stated it was investigating how the company won this tender.

Submitting fraudulent documents during public procurement bidding is not new, CPBN chairperson Amon Ngavetene said last year.

He said this slows down the procurement process.

“As the board, we have tried our best to strengthen the operations of the CPBN to avoid any corruption and irregularities happening.

“But there are loopholes, among which are collusion and conflicts of interest. Now we have to do fact checking, which is a time-consuming process of verifying, thus it contributes to delays in the finalisation of awards,” Ngavetene said.

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