LocalNews

High Court sits over controversial fleet tender

 Mohalenyane Phakela

THE Commercial Division of the High Court will tomorrow hear arguments in the acrimonious case in which fleet management companies are fighting over the tender to manage the government vehicle fleet.

Tomorrow’s sitting is the result of Justice Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane’s Thursday decision to postpone the matter to 29 April 2019 for both sides to file their heads of argument.

The government recently awarded the M100 million tender to the joint venture of locally registered companies, Fleet Service Lesotho and Silverstone Fleet Solutions.
However, one of the losing bidders, Fleeters Holdings, alleged that tender regulations had been violated and subsequently sued the government.

Fleeters Holdings also wants the High Court to declare that it the winner of the tender although it is said to have scored 70 percent against the joint venture’s 82 percent in the bidding process.

The joint venture was awarded the M100 million tender on 28 March 2019 while Fleeters Holdings filed its court challenge on 18 April 2019.

In its court application, Fleeters Holdings alleges that Fleet Services had been struck off the company register and therefore should not have been allowed to submit a tender bid. Fleeters further alleges that Silverstone did not submit a tender bid at all. Fleeters Holdings further states that the government fleet procurement documents clearly stated that a 100 percent Basotho-owned company was eligible and not a joint venture.

“It is therefore wrong to award the tender to the joint venture because the tender documents clearly spelled out the requirements and the partnership or joint venture was not one of them.

“Fleet Services has been struck off the list of companies in Lesotho and Silverstone did not tender. It is therefore ludicrous that the joint venture managed to score 82 points when it should have been disqualified from the onset,” Fleeters Holdings shareholder, Bokang T?oanamatsie, states in his founding affidavit.

Fleet Services director Bruce McDonald-Watson however, rubbished the claims that Fleet Services and Silverstone Fleet Services did not qualify.

“Fleet Services, a company duly registered in accordance with the laws of Lesotho on 1 November 2015 entered into a joint venture with Silverstone Fleet Solutions, a company duly registered with the laws of Lesotho on 1 June 2008. The joint venture called Fleet Services-Silverstone Fleet Solutions tendered under notice 2/2018/19 for Fleet Services and it is the joint venture that was awarded the tender.

“The application (by Fleeters Holdings) is accordingly spurious, meritless and activated by ulterior purposes. This matter is not urgent at all and the urgency thereof is self–created. The applicant approached the court on the mischaracterised impression that there is no proof that our joint venture is legally registered.

“The lapse time between the dates the applicant was informed about the award of the tender to the joint venture and the time it first approached this court, which is two weeks, is insufficient to meet the urgency of the situation. Our joint venture conformed to the requirements,” Mr McDonald-Watson states in his court papers.

On Thursday, Justice Chaka-Makhooane postponed the case to tomorrow by which date both sides’ heads of argument would have been filed.

 

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