Home » Business » Concern Over SPB Solar Tender Delay

The State Procurement Board’s delay in announcing the winning bids for the solar tender projects with four months having lapsed since the price opening ceremony has raised concerns that the board could have violated procurement regulations.

Six companies — Lanlake Power, Number 17 Metallurgical, Afriven Investments, China Jiangxi Corporation Ltd, ZTE Corporation and Intratek Zimbabwe – bid for the three projects Gwanda, Insukamini and Munyati that are expected to add 300 megawatts to the national grid.

But correspondence between the SPB and Zimbabwe Power Company seen by The Herald indicates that the former interrogated the latter why it had disqualified ZTE Corporation.

In a letter dated May 8, 2015, the SPB principal officer, Mr Cledywn Nyanhete, wrote to ZPC managing director Mr Noah Gwariro asking why ZTE Corporation had been disqualified.

“Demonstrate with detailed price schedule how ZTE Corporation did not quote for the transmission component of the project? Juxtapose their incomplete quotation against those considered as compliant to the same requirements,” wrote Mr Nyanhete.

In his response on May 19, 2015, Mr Gwariro stood his ground arguing that ZTE Corporation did not meet the required specifications.

“Bidders were required to show price breakdown of transmission works, however, ZTE did not comply with the form of tender and quoted transmission works as options whereas they were mandatory. After factoring in the transmission component of $577 940 for Lot 1 and $3 467 940 for Lot 3, ZTE’s price became the highest,” said Mr Gwariro.

He added that ZTE Corporation had been disqualified for excluding the transmission line and terminal equipment required at the existing substation.

“In that regard the bidder was NOT responsive to minimum requirements of a project of this nature –TURNKEY PROJECT.

“ZPC found it difficult to see how the bidder planned to evacuate the power from the proposed power station if the scope excludes such component.

“The bidder indicated the excluded component as ‘OPTIONAL’. Please kindly note that this part can never be made optional under such circumstances. It’s a mandatory requirement for the successful evacuation of power from the plant.

“In summary, the bidder was expected to incorporate this part in the bid failure of which had resulted in recommendation from us for DISQUALIFICATION,” he said.

Mr Gwariro further said the fact that ZTE Corporation said they could not firm upon on their price because transmission price could not be finalised at the stage made it difficult for ZPC to evaluate their bid.

“It is against the above reasons that ZTE was recommended for disqualification. As such, in our view, there is no need to juxtapose as per re- quest.

“It is our understanding that the above mentioned shortcomings are enough to recommend disqualification of the bidder in line with the evaluation criteria set out in the RFP (Request for Proposal,” said Mr Gwariro.

ZTE Corporation is one of the companies that the SPB was also accused of bringing through the “back door” for the initial Gwanda solar project tender despite the fact that the firm had charged about double the price of the initial tender winner China Jiangxi Corporation Ltd.

The Herald emailed some questions to SPB board chairperson Mr Charles Kuwaza who when a follow up was made on his mobile phone, retorted: “Iwe nyora zvaunoda” before hanging the phone.

Mr Kuwaza was to later respond to the email claiming that stories exposing the rot at the SPB were as a result of sources bribing journalists.

“You are at it again, alleging corruption at the SPB!! I have told you times without number that you should report these allegations to the police. Pronto!

“The brown envelopes that you feed from, from Tenders to Garnishee Orders, clearly illustrate your lack of morality. For the past 3 years you made similar scurrilous allegations, without any thread of substance or evidence. As you know “he who alleges must prove” is an old legal maxim,” said Mr Kuwaza.

But sources at the SPB accused Mr Kuwaza of frustrating conclusion of the tender.

“Another year was lost when ZTE was sneaked in for award negotiations after Intratek had requested to match China Jiangxi Corporation Ltd bid price,” said the source.

“The negotiations eventually frustrated legitimate award because the executive chairperson wanted to ensure that ZTE gets the award from the back door.

“Once again, ZTE has failed to offer firm necessary transmission component and were rejected technically. The matter was presented mid-April by ZPC where they submitted a sound technical assessment that Kuwaza is trying to arm twist using all sorts of influence that include name throwing to intimidate ZPC from standing on their recommendations,” said the source.

Another insider added “The matter continues to be deferred on the basis of irregularities that the board overruled at the technical evaluation.

“The tender document had not prescribed the envelope for the form of tender with prices. As a result, two bidders were disqualified on this irregularity. The board is trying to renege from the discretion they applied to the process to give a chance to ZTE that failed after such a waiver.”

Source : The Herald

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