LMDA sued over tender

LMDA sued over tender

MASERU – A joint-venture of two companies has dragged the Lesotho Millennium Development Agency (LMDA) to court over tinkering with a tender process.

A joint-venture of Twos (Pty) Ltd, a local medical supplies company, and a South African-based Botsheko Medical and Surgical Suppliers (Pty) wants the High Court to block the LMDA from cancelling the tender.
It accuses the LMDA of “intending to cancel the tender without any good cause”.

In papers filed in court, the joint-venture asks the court “to interdict LMDA from retracting the letter of intent to award (HFM-D-0003-19) pending the final determination of the application”. The company says the LMDA had already informed it that they had won the tender but made an about-turn.
In his founding affidavit, the founder of Twos (Pty) Ltd, Maama Seeiso, said on December 5 last year, the LMDA invited bids for procurement for health care facilities’ medical equipment, maintenance and repair.

Seeiso partnered with Botsheko Medical and Surgical Supplies to submit a bid as a joint venture. He said on August 2 this year, the LMDA told them, in a letter, that they wanted to award them the contract.

Seeiso told the court that they waited in anticipation but the contract was not awarded. Instead they informally heard that someone is challenging the tender process. He said it was only when they made a follow up that they were then informed there is a challenge.

“We were not informed as to who challenged the bid, what the basis of challenging the bid was and why was it challenged,” Seeiso said.
A formal letter followed.

“They did not only notify us of the challenge but also suspended the proceedings of the bid.” He said the LMDA withheld the information and “this state of affairs affected us mentally and psychologically as the questions we had remained unanswered”.

He said they had a legitimate expectation that they should get the contract. They wrote emails to the LMDA. Seeiso said the emails were answered by one Pulane Ramakongoana but were not accurate, detailed and convincing.
“This raised the eyebrows as there was a clear suspicion of foul play displayed by LMDA,” he said.

The two companies said they could sense an element of corruption that the LMDA no longer wants to award the contract to them and wants to direct it elsewhere.

Seeiso argued that the interval of time taken was a way to create room for this unwieldy corruption. Seeiso said he met Ramakongoana who told him that they were willing to issue the same tender again so that it could be contested by bidders once again.

He said the LMDA officers did not inform him formally and otherwise as to who challenged the bid. He said he failed to know why the bid was cancelled.
“I was only informed that the cancellation letter will be sent to me,” he said.
Seeiso said the LMDA has been so relaxed in proceeding with the bid until he made a follow-up only to find out that they are willing to cancel the tender.

Itumeleng Khoete

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