Big Bravo (Pty) Ltd Managing Director, Bothata Mahlala, says his company “deservedly” won a M120 million Maseru City Council tender to refurbish roads in Matala Phase 1 and Ha-Leqele in 2013.
Mr Mahlala strongly dismissed widespread claims that he only won the contract because of alleged links to certain political heavyweights.
His statements come amid claims by South Africa’s Big Bravo Investments 503 CC Managing Director, Mphulane Ramorena, that he was surprised Mr Mahlala’s firm had been awarded the lucrative tender despite a letter from Council informing him he had been chosen for the project.
Mr Ramorena has since instituted legal proceedings in the High Court’s Commercial Division against the Maseru City Council to recover performance guarantee documents he submitted when he tendered for the job.
He claims Council has been ignoring his demands for the documents hence the lawsuit.
However, Mr Mahlala yesterday said he wanted to set the record straight regarding the tender and his relationship with Mr Ramorena.
“First of all, I want to make it clear that I have no connection with any politician and that my company won the roads contract fairly without any influence from anyone.
“As for Ramorena, we were awarded the tender together, but we could not raise the required 10 percent construction performance guarantee. It should be clear that we were working together at the time but eventually went our separate ways due to certain disagreements.
“We simply could not continue working together. However, it is wrong and malicious for him to say he does not know Big Bravo (Pty) Ltd when he was part of the company and he signed its registration papers as one of the directors.
“The main issue here is the performance guarantee documents that we acquired through our friends, who loaned us M1.3 million for the company to secure the M11 million insurance needed for us to be awarded the tender. Ramorena was there with me at the time, so it goes without saying that we owed people and we had to repay the money,” said Mr Mahlala.
According to Mr Mahlala, he allegedly discovered that Mr Ramorena owed South Africa’s Firedart and Construction Guarantee M200 000. He added Firedart wanted Mr Ramorena to repay this money before the company could provide the M1.3million guarantee Bravo had requested. The Lesotho Times could not immediately verify these claims with Firedart and Mr Ramorena.
“Ramorena did not release even a cent for us to secure the performance guarantee. It is for that reason that I handed the documents to the people who loaned us the M1.3 million. The performance guarantee documents we are talking about were released to me a long time ago by Maseru City Council and I signed and gave them to the people we owed so that they could get their monies before we got the balance,” said Mr Mahlala.
He also said it had come as a shock that Mr Ramorena had opened case in the High Court to get the performance guarantee papers from Council when he had informed his liaison officer that he had already retrieved them.
“I believe he has ulterior motives and wants to use the guarantee monies to settle his debts as I hear that his business is facing liquidation there in South Africa.
“It should also be known that he made withdrawals from Big Bravo (Pty) Ltd accounts to the tune of M1.2 million before he left to settle debts for his South African company. He compromised our project through these withdraws.”
Mr Mahlala also said the roads project had now resumed after it had been stopped last year due to certain challenges.
The project, he added, resumed in August this year and is set for completion in August 2016.
“We had challenges due to Council’s failure to pay us on time, but we are now back to complete the project.”