Parliament pays over N$600 000 to telecom company for 13 years despite an expired contract

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

The National Assembly’s (NA) financial records have revealed the continuous payments to Dynamic Mobile Solution, a telecommunication company, for services rendered over a staggering 13-year period despite the expiration of their contract.

According to an audited financial report of NA, for the financial year ended 31 March 2023, conducted by Auditor–General, Junias Kanjeke, unauthorised payments amounting to N$618 654.11 for the financial year under review.

The report shows that the contract was initially signed in 2009 to provide short message services (SMS) and maintain an agreement with the mobile service provider.

However, the contract expired on 30 April 2010. Despite the lapse of the contract, Dynamic Mobile Solution continued providing services, resulting in significant payments over the years without proper authorisation.

“During the audit fieldwork, it was found that the signed contract expired on 30 April 2010, but the company continued with the service provision to date which resulted in unauthorised payments of N$618 654.11,” stated Kandjeke

Kandjeke further raised concerns regarding a contract extension request dated 16 February 2023, which was recommended and approved by the Accounting Officer.

He said the extension, granted more than a decade after the contract’s expiration, lacked transparency and raised questions about the motive behind prolonging the engagement without an active contract in place.

In addition, he highlighted these discrepancies through an audit query and a management letter. However, responses provided by the Office failed to offer concrete reasons for the continued engagement of Dynamic Mobile Solution without following proper procurement procedures.

“However, it is not clear as to what motivated the extension of the contract which expired 13 years ago to be approved when there has been no active contract signed between the two parties. However, the Office was not provided with a concrete valid reason as to why the National Assembly could not extend the contract of the company immediately after the contract expired in April 2010 instead of continuing with the unauthorised service provider and only extending the contract 13 years later,” Kandjeke said.

In response to the management letter, NA’s Accounting Officer cited provisions of the Public Procurement Act (Act 15 of 2015) as justification for the extension.

Specifically, Section 36(2)(b) was referenced, allowing for extensions within prescribed limits for additional deliveries of goods or services by the original supplier under certain conditions.

“Within the prescribed limits, for additional deliveries of goods by the original supplier which are intended either as partial replacement or extension for existing goods, services, or installations and where a change of supplier would compel the public entity to procure equipment or services not meeting requirements of interchangeability with already existing equipment or service,” he stated.

Kandjeke, emphasised the importance of adherence to procurement processes, stating, “It is recommended that the Accounting Officer should ensure that upon expiry of contracts, procurement processes be followed at all times as per the Public Procurement Act, 2015.”

Additionally, the audit highlighted a gap in the NA risk management strategy.

For three consecutive years, management failed to develop a disaster recovery plan, leaving operations vulnerable to potential disruptions. Kandjeke underscored the necessity of such a plan, emphasising its role in ensuring the continuity of operations in the face of disasters.

In response, the Accounting Officer pointed to the pending launch of the NA’s strategic plan in December 2023.

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