Chairman of the Finance and Estimates Committee Ignatious Moswaane was short of calling the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Water Utilities Corporation Gaselemogwe Senai regarding the contract with Khato Civils for the Masama 100km pipeline.
In an interview with this publication, Moswaane who is also a Member of Parliament for Francistown West said they have the letter which showed that WUC gave Khato Civil appointment letter.
“it was only last week when parliament rejected the proposed budget that they wrote to Khato Civils to halt mobilization saying parliament has rejected funding for the project,” he revealed.
The outspoken legislator accused Senai and Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Kefentse Mzwinila of being economical with the truth and trying to hide some information from the committee.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Senai denies that WUC have signed any contract with Khato Civils regarding the 100km Masama water pipeline, which suffered a major blow last week when Parliament refused to approve its proposed budget.
“We have not singed any contract in relation to the Masama 100km pipeline. Khato Civils can go to court or not, it's their decision to make and it’s within their rights but where we stand right now we can't say they will go to court or not,” he said.
He said that they gave the preferred bidder a notice of awarding the tender after indication that the soliciting of funds will get an approved by the executive. Senai highlighted that their conditions of contract for high capital projects they use the Fidic conditions of contract which tenants are part of Invitation To Tender (ITT) and invoke one the conditions contract and terminate it.
Last week Botswana parliament rejected a request for P900 million by the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services for a new sub-project to be named 100km ‘Masama direct’ under the water supply pipelines project in National Development Plan 11 (NDP (11).
In rejecting the proposal , chairperson of the finance and estimates committee, Moswaane said that proposed project was not one of the NDP 11 approved projects by Parliament.
“If the budget is approved for the 100 kilometer Masama-Mmamashia project, this will mean that a third pipe will be running parallel to the NSC I and NSC II, and it will be duplication of effort if both pipelines are working at their capacity,” he said.
According to the board minutes, WUC board authorized the board secretary to sign contract with Khato Civils on behalf of WUC. Although the acting WUC denied that they have signed a contract with Khato Civils, the board meeting minutes and appointment letter to the bidder differs sharply with him. On the 4th of July 2019 WUC board secretary wrote to Khato Civils informing them of the management tender committee’s decision to award the 100km Masama Pipeline project to them. They further advised Khato Civils of the conditions of the award as relating to fixed prices and non-escalation of costs as per the approved bid.
Khato was later given an appointment letter and advised to pay the 10% guarantee to WUC which they have already and is around P80 million. “The money has already been paid to WUC and they have accepted which is an indication that Khato Civils can start mobilization,” revealed one source.
The South African based company is said to have already started moving their machinery to Botswana and recruiting more personnel. One of the corporate lawyers who refused to be named revealed that if WUC goes ahead and terminates the contract they will have to pay Khato Civil loss of profit.
Contacted for comment Khato Holdings, the parent company of Khato Civils Simbi Phiri refused to be drawn into the issue. “This is a matter between two parties and we cannot divulge any information to a third party. As regard to what is alleged to have been said by the WUC CEO I cannot comment as I was not there,” he said.