|State House officials clinch N$80m Unam tender|
|Thursday, 19 February 2009 09:41|
INFLUENTIAL government officials from the Office of the President, Ministry of Justice and the University of Namibia (Unam) have clinched yet another lucrative government tender to develop and manage student hostels at Unam, in an N$80 million project estimated to generate more than N$200 million over a period of 20 years.
The three government officials, who are non-executive directors of investment group Hanganeni Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, are familiar contenders for government contracts, as they were also behind the controversial Namibia Liquid Fuels deal in 2004.|
Hanganeni comprises Dr Ndeutala Angolo-Amutenya, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Dr Leevi Hungamo, Director of Economic Affairs in the Office of the President, Sacky Shanghala, Special Advisor to the Attorney General and Investec Asset Management Managing Director, James Hatuikulipi.
Angolo-Amutenya, who is a director in Hanganeni, is also the Vice-Chairperson of the Unam Council, which reviewed the applications, then approved Hanganeni’s bid and awarded the contract.
Angolo-Amutenya said she recused herself when the Unam Council deliberated on the awarding of the contract to Hanganeni, and denied any conflict of interest.
“I never got involved in the decision. I excused myself from the discussions of the issue and I never asked any questions about it. I don’t see any conflict of interest, why should we be discriminated against?” she asked.
Although copies of Hanganeni’s share certificate were not readily available at the Registrar of Companies, information available on Hanganeni’s website shows that Hatuikulipi chairs the Hanganeni Board, while Shangala is acting Chief Executive Officer. All directors have fiduciary responsibilities.
The group won a tender to develop and manage accommodation facilitates at Unam, in a deal that could generate over N$288 million over a period of 20 years.
Hanganeni Investment Holdings is the majority shareholder of Hanganeni Emona (Pty) Ltd, a company they co-own with South African-based outfit, Academia Cape. The Hanganeni Emona partnership is modelled along the same lines as NFL.
Hanganeni Emona was among twelve companies that applied to develop accommodation facilities on the Unam campus, following the University’s advertisements in the local press for a public private partnership (PPP).
It advertised the tender in 2007. A technical team tasked with the bids shortlisted seven companies, including Hanganeni Emona, who were asked to submit detailed proposals of how they intended to develop the required facilities.
Hanganeni Emona, along with fellow bidders Natukuneni Development Consortium, a Windhoek-based quantity surveying concern, was invited to defend their proposals in November 2007.
Unam awarded the tender to Hanganeni, the company they described as a “clear preferred proponent, as a result of their wealth of experience.”
Unam Director of Communication and Marketing, Edwin Tjiramba said that Hanganeni Emona’s South African shareholders, Academia Cape, have 10 years experience in design, building, financing, and managing residential student facilities.
Academia Cape’s stake in Hanganeni Emona has come into question, with some observers saying the company was brought on board to enable the otherwise inexperienced Namibian shareholders to get big deals.
Unam, in responding to Informanté’s questions, could only highlight Academia’s track record but failed to mention any skills or experience in Hanganeni Investment, the majority shareholders in the company that won the tender.
According to the details of the tender, the winning company would be responsible for operating and maintaining the student residences, envisaged as part of a long-term lease agreement that would run for approximately 20 years. Around 600 rooms and flats are to be built at Unam by the winning company.
Those close to the deal said Natukuneni had offered conditions that were more favourable to Unam, such as lower rental prices for student units. According to their proposal, rental charges would range from N$850 and N$1,600 per month.
Hanganeni’s figures on the other hand are said to have included a maximum of N$2,000 per month in rental fees.
In 2004, the directors of Hanganeni Investment were also beneficiaries of a mega-million petroleum-importing tender, awarded by government through their hastily established Namibia Liquid Fuels (NLF). The same directors formed a joint venture with South African oil company, Sasol, to import half of Namibia’s fuel needs for five years.
Analysts estimated that NLF would land N$800 million per year from the deal.
Hanganeni Investment Holdings also has a stake in yet another public private partnership tender with the Namibia Airports Company to operate a catering facility at the Hosea Kutako Airport.
Asked to comment on allegations that his political and government connections had enabled him to clinch public tenders, Hanganeni Investment Holdings Acting CEO, Shanghala said, “We bid for open and transparent projects. We followed the procedures, just like any other bidder.”
On why the project has not started, almost two years after they were appointed to complete the work, Shanghala said that paperwork was yet to be concluded, hence the delay.
“We haven’t signed yet. A lot of people who worked on this project resigned and that has delayed the process,” he said.