Company loses P400m BIUST tender case

Staff Writer
LOBATSE: The High Court in Lobatse has dismissed the case in which construction company, Stocks and Stocks is fighting over the P429 million tender for the construction of Botswana International University of Science and Technology in Palapye.

Yesterday, Justice Singh Walia ordered each party to bear its own costs for the application. Last week, Stocks and Stocks applied for an interdict against the bid winner, China Civil Engineering, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB), and the Building and Engineering Services/Ministry of Education after losing the tender.

But Walia said Stocks and Stocks was properly disqualified for non-compliance with the requirements of the invitation to tender as regards registration to the subcontractor and the peremptory provisions of the law.

"I am unable to find that the first respondent (PPADB) decision was bad for irrationality or for any other reason. The application therefore fails and is hereby dismissed," Walia said.

Stocks and Stocks argued that the evaluation committee disqualified them for not proposing a quantity surveyor and that the PPADB wrongfully endorsed the decision.

They wanted the court to set aside PPADB's decision to disqualify Stocks and Stocks tender, as well as the decision to award the bid to China Civil Engineering.

Walia ruled that the size of

a particular installation could not be used as a reason for non-compliance with the peremptory requirements to tender or the law.

"The installation may be large and insignificant or small and insignificant but that is not the determining factor. The determining factor is that, at the date of adjudication, registration did not exist," Walia said.

Stocks and Stocks argued that it is unreasonable adherence to fixed principles to require that bidders have their documents certified by the issuing authority and that disqualification for failure to do so is preference of form over substance.

The company told the court that the non-registration of their mechanical subcontractor as a basis of disqualification was unreasonable.

But Walia found no basis for awarding costs on punitive scales.

"Doing a balancing exercise and having regard to the full sets of affidavits in each application, I have come to the conclusion that a proper order for costs is for each party to bear its own costs and it is so ordered," Walia ruled.



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