Members of Parliament (MPs) have slammed involvement of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) in the awarding of tenders.
Despite the government denying that the DIS has any role in the tender adjudication process, legislators accused the directorate of delaying tender allocations.
The MPs also accused the DIS of influencing the awarding of tenders without a request for vetting from relevant authorities.
Commenting on the question he had raised, Leader of Opposition and Maun West MP, Dumelang Saleshando gave an example of Moshupa hospital.
He said the DIS influenced the award of the tender without a request for vetting, and it ended up being given to a different company.
Saleshando explained that the DIS then claimed it was carrying out investigations of possible corrupt practices by the company that was initially awarded the tender. He added that the DIS, however, was not prepared to disclose the corrupt practices it alleged.
“DIS used its Act when the matter was brought up in court, and refused to disclose the alleged corrupt practices that they were investigating against the company,” Saleshando said.
He had asked the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng about the role of the DIS in government tender adjudication process.
Sharing the same sentiments, Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi asked the Minister if he was aware that Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) once revealed that the DIS wrote a letter, instructing the Corporation to stop a tender, which was awarded to a certain company to do water works.
He said the DIS ordered WUC to award the tender to a company of its choice. Mmolotsi asked the Minister to explain why the DIS interference seems to be punishing certain companies while favouring others.
Still on the matter, Selebi-Phikwe West MP, Dithapelo Keorapetse echoed other MPs’ sentiments saying that DIS’ involvement in the tender adjudication process was problematic.
Keorapetse gave an example of the evidence requested by the Finance and Estimate Committee in the last sitting of the House, where Parliament dealt with the P900 million request for Maun water projects. He further stated that there was evidence contained in a letter from the DIS that sought to circumvent the tendering process. He said in the
“With me here there is a judgement in which the moratorium placed by DIS was discharged by the court. How is possible that the Minister in charge of DIS is not aware of these things? But members especially of the opposition are aware of the judgement so adverse to the institution under your Ministry. Do you want us to believe that you honestly don’t know the involvement of the DIS in tenders?” Keorapetse said.
The MP for Okavango, Kenny Kapinga also questioned the Minister on whether he truly did not know that DIS once wrote a letter instructing that the company that was awarded a tender to do water works in Maun was stopped, a case which ended up at the High Court.
Kapinga explained that the High Court ruled that the tender should be given back to the company that was initially selected for the job, stating that DIS does not have the powers to interfere in the tendering process. On another note, Kapinga also asked the Minister whether he had intentions to take action against DIS for its interference in issues that do not concern it. Responding to the MPs’ concerns, Morwaeng explained that the DIS has no role in the government tender adjudication process nor does it influence the awarding of tenders. However, he said from time to time as per Section 5 (e) of the DIS Act, the agency receives requests from procuring entities seeking security vetting and clearance of certain persons or entities. The companies in most cases would have already short listed companies, in consideration for the award.
“Mr Speaker, at times information is received by the DIS in which suspicions are raised that certain identified conduct is not above board. This is common where a dispute would have arisen out of adjudication,” he explained.
“In that case, the DIS would commence investigations and where wrongdoing of national security concern is identified, relevant authorities are notified for appropriate action.”