Rundu meter tender challenge lacks urgency

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Rundu meter tender challenge lacks urgency
Rundu meter tender challenge lacks urgency

Africa-Press – Namibia. The Windhoek High Court has struck from the roll a case in which Netvend Metering Solutions accused the Rundu Town Council of awarding a multi-million-dollar tender to supply smart prepaid meters to a company without prior experience.

Judge Orben Sibeya said despite Netvend not having wasted time in launching the application, it has failed to provide facts and the circumstances that render it to be heard urgently.

Netvend approached the High Court, seeking to review and set aside the review panel’s decision to dismiss its reconsideration application – an order remitting the matter to the town council for re-evaluation of the bids that were submitted.

The company further wanted the court to interdict the town council from entering into any contracts for the bid in question.

The Rundu Town Council awarded the tender to supply and install smart prepaid meters to Lwayaha Trading.

Lwayaha offered to give its services for N$3 million with an added cost of inflation rate, while Netvend offered N$6.3 million.

In his ruling, Sibeya said Netvend in its application did not seek to review the town council’s decision to award the tender to Lwayaha, a decision that has since been implemented and the contract signed.

He further said, inasmuch as Netvend seeks an order to interdict the town council from signing any contracts with Lwayaha, it did not ask the court to set aside the awarding.

“This, therefore, in my view, leaves the decision of the town council unchallenged. It follows thus that the qualms that the applicant harbours with regard to the decision of the review panel can be pursued at a hearing in due course,” said Sibeya.

He ordered Netvend to pay the legal fees of the Rundu Town Council and Lwayaha.

In its application, Netvend claimed Lwayaha, which was selected as the successful bidder, does not have experience installing water meters, and was selected unlawfully.

Netvend’s managing member Pejaomati Hamukoto said a benchmarking exercise was done after the town council requested bids from four companies for a restricted tender: Netvend, ABC Investment, Item Engineering, and Acqua Engineering Services.

But ABC Investments later requested that it be replaced by Lwayaha, which claimed to be in the process of restructuring.

According to Hamukoto, ABC claimed it and Lwayaha were owned by the same person.

He said the town council acceded to ABC’s request – which is unlawful.

It is Hamukoto’s stance that Lwayaha was not evaluated during the benchmarking exercise, and has no experience.

He said the company is riding on the back of ABC, which was part of the benchmarking exercise, and was never invited to tender for the bid.

Aggrieved by the town council’s decision, Hamukoto said he approached the review panel for reconsideration. However, the review panel dismissed the application on 21 May.

He added that Lwayaha was awarded the bid unlawfully, and Netvend should have been selected, given its experience and price.

In response, Olavi Nathanael, the CEO of the Rundu Town Council said the application is not urgent, and Netvend has not made out a case why the matter must be returned to the town council and be re-evaluated.

He denied that Netvend applied for reconsideration, and that the town council conceded to serious irregularities and unlawful conduct in the bidding process.

Furthermore, he denied the companies were shortlisted after the benchmarking exercise.

He also denied that Lwayaha lacks experience. Nathanael said the company is currently supplying water metering services at Katima Mulilo Town Council. For the suit, the town council was represented by Mbushandje Ntinda, while Appolos Shimakeleni appeared for Netvend.

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