RBM clings to disputed contract

RBM

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has appealed to the High Court against an order by Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to retender the supply of some ICT equipment.

PPDA  had found anomalies in the bidding process that led to the award of a contract to Mitra Systems Limited to supply Flexcube and ATS systems, hence the order.

The anomalies included flouting some evaluation criteria including Mitra not having the required skills and experience as it was only registered two years ago, which is below the five years required.

Sparc Systems, lodged the complaint which the PPDA review committee agreed with and ordered for the re-tender.

Not satisfied, RBM  has challenged the PPDA's decision in the High Court.

Kulinji.com has seen  documents filed before Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda with RBM as claimants and Sparc Systems as defendants.

The Bank wants a stay of the enforcement of the decision by PPDA.

RBM argues that the decision by PPDA committee did not provide enough reasons warranting re-tender of the process, that the equipment for the Flexcube nd ATS tenders are needed urgently for running the critical systems of the bank, and lastly because it believes the judgement is self conflicting especially after allowing Mitra to be awarded lot 3 of the ATS tender despite finding them unqualified.

The PPDA Review Committee is however not party to the hearing.

In its submission Sparc has asked the Court to dismiss RBM's argument with costs on an indemnity scale, claiming it is an utter waste of the Court's time as the procedures were flouted in awarding the contracts to Mitra, and that the court should add PPDA as a respondents to the case to account for deliberations that resulted into their decision to call for a retender.

"The application for a review is against the decision of a quasi-judicial tribunal which even in the absence of section 60 (10) of the Act would be subject to the review jurisdiction of the High Court pursuant to its powers under section 108 (2) of the Constitution.

"Under Order 19 of the Civil Procedure Rules, the public functionary whose decision is sought to be reviewed is added as a Respondent so that during the review proceedings, it can account of the exercise of its powers and duties under public law. The omission of the Review Committee in this case is, therefore, a glaring omission. It will result in injustice as the Committee may be condemned without a hearing and this would result in offending the rules of natural justice and section 43 of the constitution," reads part of the documents.

Mitra Systems is jointly owned by a Rwandan, Robert Benimana, and a Zimbabwean, Martin Masawi and was registered in 2018.

The current Government in Malawi has insisted that priority should be given to indigenous Malawians and on merit when awarding contracts.