Paragon wins N$25m airport tender

Obrein Simasiku

Menzies Aviation’s refusal to accept its loss of the grounds handling service tender at the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) has been dealt another blow, when the Windhoek High Court ruled in favour of Namibia Airports Company (NAC).

NAC had earlier approached the High Court, after Menzies refused to hand over the keys and other properties of the Airports Company, as its contract comes to an end tomorrow, 30 June.

NAC was on a counter application, after it was dragged by Menzies to court for having awarded a tender to another company, Paragon Investment Holding and its Joint Venture Partner Ethiopian Airlines, to start servicing its airport cargo and logistics. It also sought to ask the court to set aside the order compelling it to vacate and handover all keys and necessities to NAC, but this was dismissed with costs by Judge Orben Sibeya.

Menzies had its counter application against Namibia Airports Company dismissed with costs, after the company asked the court to declare that the tender awarded to Paragon Investment Holdings and its joint venture Partner Ethiopian Airlines, be cancelled, claiming that the airport will be in danger as the appointed companies had no capacity to render efficient and effective service.

Menzies having providing airport ground handling services since 2014, and had its contract renewed twice, before its eventual termination taking effect tomorrow (30 June 2022).

High Court Judge Orben Sibeya, in his ruling today ordered that the agreement between NAC and Menzies shall be terminated on 30 June, and that the latter shall cease to provide ground handling services at HKIA; hand over all security access cards or other equipment entitling it to access HKIA or any premises which it occupies at HKIA by virtue of the ground handling services agreement with the NAC.

“It is declared that the first respondent shall at the end of the day on the termination date; vacate occupation of any premises at HKIA occupied by virtue of the ground handling services agreement. And if the first respondent (Menzies) refuses to give effect to the order set out; the Deputy Sheriff of this Court is directed to evict the first respondent from HKIA and from all premises at HKIA occupied by the first respondent, and all equipment,” said Sibeya.

The judge further made an order that, Menzies’ counter application is dismissed and that they should pay the applicant’s costs of the application and opposition to the counter application. Such costs to include costs of one instructing and two instructed Counsel and further pay the second respondent’s (Paragon) costs limited to the counter application, which includes costs of two counsel.

In its defence, Menzies with its origin based in the United Kingdom, argued that, it was discriminated against despite having 51 percent of its shares held by locals. It further pointed out that, Paragon was panel-beating second hand and using cheap materials as its resource to carry out the job, thus Menzies felt this was posing a risk to the aviation industry. In addition, it argued that NAC erred in awarding a tender worth more than N$25 million, instead such was supposed to be handled by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia.

By Observer