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Batshu briefs MPs on phone-tapping tools case

Staff Writer
The Acting Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Edwin Batshu has briefed Parliament on a dispute between the Botswana Police Service and a local company over the supply of telephone-tapping equipment.

Batshu told the House on Friday that the advent of cellular phones and computers in the country has resulted in their theft and use by criminals.

He said the Botswana Police Service needs technology that will enhance their policing strategies within the framework of the law.

"It was in this context that Botswana Police Service floated a public tender to procure a GSM cellular and computer surveillance system which closed on the 20th February 2008.  Tender evaluation was immediately conducted and Dukef Holdings recommended as it had complied with all tender requirements and was subsequently awarded the tender," the former Commissioner of Police said.

He said at the time of delivery of the equipment, it was observed that there was a gross departure from technical specifications provided in the Invitation to Tender (ITT) as well as the bidder's response.  The acting minister told Parliament that pursuant to this, several meetings were held with the bidder to rectify the defects.

Bashu said a bone of contention hinged around system capabilities.  "Dukef Holdings (Pty) Ltd, failed to rectify the defects pointed out.  A dispute was declared and the matter was referred to PPADB, in terms of Section 54 of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, for their intervention.  On January 15, 2009 the

board made a decision that Dukef Holdings (Pty) Ltd should deliver in terms of the awarded bid and this was communicated to Dukef. 

Consequently, a recommendation was made to PPADB for cancellation of the tender, which the board approved on May 28, 2009," Batshu said. He said subsequent to the cancellation, the company took the matter to the court for litigation. The acting minister said the matter was brought to court where an out-of-court settlement was reached between the two parties.  He further revealed that the High Court order stated that both parties should not reveal the terms of settlement. 

"In compliance with this court order, I am unable to disclose the terms of the settlement to the honourable House.  The tender for supply and installation of GSM cellular computer surveillance followed all due process of procurement.  Consequently the issue of installation does not arise," he said.

Batshu was answering Kgatleng East Member of Parliament (MP) Isaac Mabiletsa who had asked the minister to brief Parliament on the case between Botswana Police and Dukef Holdings involving the supply and installation of a GSM cellular phone and computer surveillance to the police. 

Mabiletsa wanted to know whether the supply and installation of such equipment was in breach of any law.



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