|Consultant ask Swartbooi to intervene in JMS|
|Written by Gabby Tjiroze|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2012 20:47|
A former consultant of JMS Investment, which failed to complete N$24 million worth of developmental projects in Tses and Keetmanshoop, has called on Karas Governor and former shareholder of JMS Bernadus Swartbooi, to intervene and strip the company of the uncompleted projects.Fredrick Jod claims he was hired by Swartbooi as a survey consultant in October 2010 after the Tses project came to a halt due to a payment dispute between Seal Engineers, an engineering consultant hired by the regional council and JMS investment. Seal Engineers refused to pay after discovering that JMS had dug deeper than required for a sewerage system in Tses.
Karas Chief Regional Officer Saul Kahuika says the council is in the process of bringing in an independent arbitrator to confirm Seal Engineering’s claims against JMS. The move is expected to cost the council additional funds.
Last week Swartbooi said that he relinquished his shareholding in the company when he was appointed Governor in 2010 and left everything to Martin Roos, an employee of FNB, who is reportedly his cousin.
“Swartbooi as the higher power in the region must take action against the company’s failure in the completion of the two projects, for the sake of development,” says Jod.
JMS investment was initially the brainchild of Swartbooi and Roos and was awarded tenders by the Karas Regional Council and the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) to upgrade the sewage systems in Tses and Berseba and to oversee the construction of an open market in Keetmanshoop in 2010. Only the Berseba project has been completed to date.
According to Jod, Swartbooi might no longer be directly involved with JMS, but his influence in the regional council played in JMS investment’s favor and that’s why the company’s tenders are not terminated for failing to complete the projects on time. According to the Tses village council chairman Brian /Gaoseb, the sewage system project was to be completed within 9 months.
“The governor is always preaching development of the Karas region while at the same time he turns a blind eye to the activities of JMS investment. Why doesn’t he lobby the Ministry of Local Government to intervene and strip the tenders from JMS. It has happened to other companies, why not JMS?” Jod asked.
A construction company, SKYHIGH Construction and Renovations was stripped of a similar tender valued at N$7 million in December of 2011 after failing to complete the upgrading of the sewerage system in Ariamsvlei within the agreed 6 months timeframe.
Jod further claims to have had meetings with Swartbooi after the latter was appointed governor, to discuss the N$93 000 pay that JMS allegedly owes him for his consultancy on the Tses and Keetmanshoop projects.
Swartbooi referred all inquiries to the Karas Regional Council. Kahuika says JMS has not been stripped off the tenders because it has not deserted the tender sites following their dispute, unlike SkyHigh Construction and Renovations.