Jiangsu stand-off, Chinese Govt takes Botswana to task

SHARE   |   Thursday, 28 February 2019   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Morupisi Morupisi

Botswana government is said to have found itself against the rock and hard place regarding Chinese state owned company China Jiangsu International Botswana after blacklisting them over allegations of involvement in ‘massive’ corrupt practices. The company was also labeled a ‘security threat’.

Highly placed sources at government enclave have revealed that a communiqué which came from Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Cornelius Dekop has rattled feathers as Chinese government demanded to know how their state-owned company posed a security threat to the country.

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“This is a state-owned company and to say that they are posing threat to the national security is simply saying the Chinese government is a threat to Botswana and the issue of being involved in corrupt practices is an insult to Beijing,” revealed the source.

In an interview Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi said china Jiangsu International has not been blacklisted as it has been purported but was just an alert from Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS).

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“it was just an alert from Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) to the Permanent Secretaries that they must be careful when doing business with the company as they are investigating some issues regarding the company” he revealed.

China Jiangsu International had won a tender for the Maun Water reticulation project to the value of P1.5 billion.

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Another bidder for the project was another Chinese company which is privately-owned Zhengtai Group Botswana that charged P1.86 billion.

Jiangsu is alleged to be the preferred company by the authorities. The company is currently engaged in the P720 million Mmamashia-Kanye pipelines project whose costs have now shot to P1 billion though it has not been completed.

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Last week the Ministry of Lands, Management, Water and Sanitation Services instructed the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) to cancel the tender it had awarded to China Jiangsu International Botswana.

The tender was awarded to China Jiangsu in October but PPADB after one month of cooling off took time to process the award letter.

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On Monday the company served PPADB with writ of summons through their lawyers Monthe & Marumo Attorneys to give reasons why they were a security threat and proof of the massive corruption they have been involved in. PPADB has been given 14 days to respond.

Contacted for comment Managing Director of China Jiangsu international Cui Wang Lin refused to comment on the issue, saying is a matter that is before the courts of law.

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Dirty politics behind the tender

Information gathered by this publication is that the Chinese state-owned company refused to show appreciation after being awarded the tender in October last year.

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It is alleged that some cabinet ministers and senior government officials wanted the company to part with millions of Pula to grease their hands after the company was awarded the tender.

“That is why after the cooling period they delayed in issuing  the letter of award or written communication of contract award from the procuring entity since the award of the tender as they were still negotiating with the company directors who were refusing to adhere to the demands,” revealed a source within government.

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The Chinese government, which has been bashed by Batswana over uncompleted projects or shoddy jobs by Chinese companies is said to have tightened laws and systems to curtail corrupt practices from their companies.

Every year Chinese state- owned companies operating in Botswana are subjected to auditing and if any corrupt practices are found, the managing director is sent home where he/she will face prosecution.

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Though the company has been blacklisted, it has been awarded a P270 million tender for the construction of Botswana Police Forensic Laboratory at the old BPS College in Gaborone.

Recently Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Vincent Seretse said that he was happy with the company’s performance for the construction of the Botswana Police Forensic Laboratory.

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The company together with Zhong Gan Engineering and Construction (Pty) Ltd and Unik Construction Engineering (Pty) Ltd Joint Venture were also awarded the tender for the design, build and transfer of three interchanges in Gaborone.

The project, which is estimated to cost 44.72 million U.S. Dollars, is part of the Botswana Integrated Transport Project (BITP) that is funded by the government of Botswana in conjunction with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to the tune of 385.2 million U.S. Dollars.    



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