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Security companies decry corrupt tendering process

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Security companies have told the Minister of Defense, Justice and Security (MDJS), Shaw Kgathi that they are not happy with the way government institutions allocate tenders.

Speaking at the Security Companies Pitso hosted by the ministry in Gaborone recently, representatives from different security companies said they are concerned by the corrupt allocation of government tenders. 

They said that government officials who are responsible for allocating tenders expect them to bribe them in order to win the tenders.

“I have long registered my company and have been in the industry for years now but it is hard to get a big tender from the government and you will find out that big tenders go to the same companies every year.

If you sniff around to find why that is the case you will find out that the company owners’ bribe officers (ba ba jesa sengwe). If you can’t afford that you will never get tenders,” one participant said.

The security company bosses pleaded with the minister to make a regulation that would require companies to award the tenders on a rotational basis as that would reduce incidents where one company would be given  tenders over and over again.

They also told the minister that they are not happy with the criteria used by the local authority where the lowest bidders are  given tenders. They said that puts them in an awkward position as managing a security company is expensive.

“This criteria is not fair. We believe that those officials either give themselves or their friends tenders because when we want them to show us who was given the tender and why, they refuse to show us the records. We believe that they

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give away our bids to their friends or use them against us,” the said.

One of the concerns raised was the extension of contracts which the security companies said does not help them in any way because instead of making profits they end up losing money as the process is costly.

They added that tender documents requirements are too demanding and disabled many small companies as it is hard to meet them.

The said the requirements include a qualified security manager and workers, at least three cars, bank account which is opened with P1,000 and many other things that they cannot afford.

The also pleaded with Kgathi to make it mandatory for tenders worth millions to be  shared between two or more companies.

Responding to this, Kgathi urged the companies to report the people involved in bribes; the giver as well as the receiver. He said if caught, such culprits would face serious charges.

“Let me warn those who are bribed. We are watching your every move and believe me by the time we catch you, you will be in big trouble. I am warning all government officials, we are watching you,” the ministers repeated sternly.

He encouraged representatives of security companies to help them catch the perpetrators.

He however warned them that if any of them is caught in that crime,  they would face serious consequences, including shutting down their operations.

He encouraged the security business operators to form an association and help the government develop regulations to be incorporated into the security Act.



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