Geingob breaks silence on controversial medical tender

Martin Endjala

President Hage Geingob has distanced himself from the Central Procurement Board of Namibia medical tender award, calling for it to be cancelled.

The N$650 million medical tender raised eyebrows earlier last week due to irregularities in the awarding processes, with various politicians saying it should be cancelled and for the money to be diverted elsewhere particularly in the education sector and those affected by flash floods.

In a statement released today by the Presidency , The President opined that he is a champion of the rule of law and therefore, has an obligation to respect the law.

“This means that the ongoing administrative process relating to the reconsideration of the medical tender must in accordance with the provisions of the sanctioning law be carried out by those who are the appropriate repositories of that function and power”, the statement read.

It further argued that the fact that the President is constrained by the requirement of the rule of law to allow the ongoing reconsideration process at the CPBN does not, however, derogate from the fact that he is deeply concerned by what appears to be a serious allegation of dereliction of duty and lack of diligence on the part of the CPBN, stressing that if the circulating media statements are found to be factually correct.

The call for the President to cancel the tender process by a number of individuals, including some politicians, this he said it’s a wrong assumption that he has such statutory powers.

Adding that the call appears to be based on the President’s Directive to the Minister of Works and Transport during the 2015/16 to cancel the multi-million tender on the upgrade and rehabilitation of Hosea Kutako International Airport.

Explaining that the tender cancellation occurred prior to the coming into force of the Public Procurement Act during 2017.

The cancellation was also made at a time when the procurement law, the repealed Tender Board Act, was only applicable to government and not to public enterprises.

The President in that case relied on a legality basis to cancel the tender process because the award was made by an official (the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transport) who had absolutely no power whatsoever to make a tender award the statement states.

The President Is therefore urging lawmakers and other members of the public calling for the President to cancel the tender, to familiarize themselves with the laws they have passed in the legislature, and in particular the provisions of the public procurement Act.

While emphasing that any one intending to approach the courts on this matter, one must understand legal processes pertaining to locus standi.

The President, without seeking to inappropriately interfere with the statutory process. Is calling on public functionaries in government Ministries, public enterprises and the CPBN to ensure that the Public Procurement Act, its Regulations and Codes of Good Practice are applied strictly and that all instances of irregularity, corruption and non-compliance with the law are, with immediate effect and without fear or favour, investigated and addressed in a fair and transparent manner. The President therefore believes that the recent reformation of the public procurement system through the introduction of the Public Procurement Act, as amended, provides an effective legal framework to promote good governance.

Provided that those given responsibilities at CPBN carry out their work effectively, fairly, and diligently. In the same vein the Act provides mechanisms and structures to deal with any irregularities and provides remedies to address such irregularities.

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