Namibia’s Tender Board Recalls US$42 Million Food Supply Contract Amid Corruption Allegations

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The Ministry of Finance’s Tender Board has withdrawn the Ministry of Defence’s N$1, 5 billion [US$200 million – the contract was worth US$42 million a year for five years]  food ra­tions supply tender amidst concerns of ir­regularities and corruption after it emerged that some top army officers allegedly ma­nipulated the process to favour their close relatives.

Finance Ministry’s Secretary to the Ten­der Board Helena Kapenda confirmed that the “supply and delivery of food rations to the NDF” had been referred back to the Ministry of Defence for further clarifica­tion.

She would not delve into the specific rea­sons why it has been halted but Confidente is reliably informed that there were ques­tions hanging regarding the tender bidding process that needed clarification.

“This tender was not cancelled… It is still in process but how­ever it was referred back for some clarifica­tions,” Kapenda said.
She would not say the value of the tender but insider sources at the Min­istry of Defence, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Confidente that the five year tender was worth an esti­mated N$300 million annu­ally.

Confidente is also informed that a top army officer allegedly manipu­lated and by-passed the Defence Ministry’s Tender Board Ministerial Committee to benefit his niece.

Chief of Staff- Logistics, Brigadier Gen­eral Josef Kakoto, was evasive when ap­proached for comment and declined to comment on the allegations that his niece, a woman that was married in his house was allegedly a shareholder in most compa­nies that were rec­ommended to benefit from the estimated N$300 million NDF annual food tender.

“I don’t know who is in which company. Just got to the Minis­try (of Defence) because I am cur­rently on leave,” he added.
In the recommended submission from the Ministry of Defence to the Tender Board at the Ministry of Finance, about 90 per cent of the food supply tender was rec­ommended to be given to new six compa­nies which are first-time food suppliers to the Ministry of Defence.

“In fact the General’s niece is involved in all these five companies that got the hugest chunk of the food supply tender. Does that not constitute a conflict of interests?” asked one Defence Ministry’s official privy to the food supply tender dealings.
The new comers are Wilwitschia Rural Caterers, Tulipamwe Catering, Onyofi Ca­tering Supplies, African Marketing Tsepo, Infinity Trading and JN Unity Trading.

Some former established suppliers have been withdrawn from the bid in order to pave the way for the new comers, sources further alleged.

 This story appeared in Confidente