source: Republic of Botswana TAUTONA TIMES of 8/8/2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
“Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery”
C11) 13/7/10: OP, not Minister responsible for procurement. Administrative lapses occurred.
Of late questions have been raised in the media and elsewhere regarding the circumstances surrounding a request that was made by the Office of the President to the Public Procurement Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) seeking retroactive approval to pay for a replacement refrigerator/freezer unit in the house of the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security.
As has been reported, this request was subsequently turned down by the PPADB Supplies Division.
Having investigated the matter this Office wishes to clarify some issues of concern and shed further light on the circumstances surrounding this matter. In this respect it is not our intention to try and justify any administrative lapses that occurred, but rather to bring some clarity to this matter.
One point which we wish to emphasize is that the decision to replace the refrigerator/freezer, in accordance with established entitlements, was made and carried out entirely by this Office as the responsible procuring entity and not the Minister. It would, therefore, be incorrect to assume that it was the Minister who purchased the appliance.
This Office is therefore concerned with the continued reference and attribution of the purchase of the fridge/freezer to the Honourable Minister and not to the procuring entity, in this case the Office of the President.
The need to replace the refrigerator/freezer arose after this Office was informed and had confirmed that the appliance was unserviceable, was beyond economic repair and was also no longer under warranty. In this respect the Office was guided by Supplies Regulation Chapter 13, Subsection 1301.4(b) – which provides for the replacement of unserviceable furniture and appliances.
The unserviceable refrigerator/freezer, which was part of a fitted kitchen set, had been purchased in 2005 at a unit cost of P 14 134. It was in seeking to replace the unit with the same model as the original, a Gaggenau RB 272 that the Office ended up procuring a replacement fridge at a cost of P45, 999.00 which is above the limit for kitchen fittings and appliances.
Investigations have revealed that during the process of procurement administrative lapses occurred with respect to issues of price and authorisation of the purchase, hence the request for authority for retroactive approval to pay the supplier.
In conclusion, we wish to once more reiterate that responsibility for procurement rested with the Office of the President as the procuring entity, and not the Minister, whose role was limited to communicating the unserviceability of the refrigerator.
Therefore any suggestions and/or imputation that the Minister unduly circumvented the procurement process and acquired an item beyond his entitlement are unfortunate and misinformation to the public.