By: Hertha Ekandjo
The Chairperson of the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN)Amon Ngavetenesaid it is lawmakers who passed laws that govern public sector procurement in Namibia.
This is after Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) called for the reversal of a N$1.3 billion pharmaceutical supply tender to Cospharm Investments.
The company was awarded a government tender to supply pharmaceuticals used in cancer treatment and psychotic disorders.
Cospharm Investments is apparently majority-owned by a five-year-old Namibian childwith 51% shareholding, while the child’s father, a Zimbabwean-born, Cosmas Mukaratirwa owns the remainder of the shares.
The NEFF has further threatened a nationwide protest if the tender is not cancelled.
“This award is in line with the Procurement Act which makes provision for an open international tendering. This means that any company from anywhere across the world can participate in the bidding. That Act has been passed by parliament where [NEFFlegislator, Longinus ‘Kalimbo’] Iipumbu is a member,” Ngavetene told The Villager.
According to him, if lawmakers did not want the bids to be open to international companies, they should not have made that provision in the Act.
“The bidding is open to any company. There are also other companies from other countries owned by different citizens that have also been awarded tenders. This is not a bidding restricted to Namibians, but an open bidding,”Ngavetene stated.
The CPBN was established through an Act of Parliament in 2015 to conduct the bidding process on behalf of public entities for the award of procurement contracts and to direct and supervise accounting officers in managing the implementation of procurement contracts awarded by the Board.
The awarding of the tender to Cospharm Investment has been challenged by controversial Namibian businessman Shapwa Kanyama in the High Court.
Meanwhile, NEFF’s deputy leaderIipumbu questioned whether the Zimbabwean procurement system would allow a Zimbabwean tender to be given to a five-year-old Namibian child.
“It is our firm submission that such a decision defies all principles of accountability, transparency, and ethical governance. Government contracts of this magnitude should be allocated to companies with proven track records, experienced leadership, and the capacity to create meaningful employment opportunities for Namibians,” the lawmaker said.
The situation, according to the politician, highlights the urgent need for transparency, accountability, and the prioritisation of Namibian interests in the allocation of government tenders.