Firm loses police uniforms court challenge

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Tefo Tefo

A LOCAL company that supplies protective clothing to the government, Smally Trading Company, on Tuesday lost a court bid to nullify the contract the government entered into with four companies to supply police uniforms.

The company approached the High Court on 14 April 2016 contesting the tender contract between the government and Lekhotla Matšaba, Cubana Shells, Cubana Shells Holdings (Pty) Ltd and Naledi Outdoor Advertising (Pty) Ltd.

Smally Trading Company also wanted the court to stop the Ministry of Police’s Procurement Unit, Deputy Principal Secretary, Commissioner of Police and the Ministry of Police and Public Safety, from disbursing any funds to the earlier mentioned companies pending the finalisation of the case.

But the High Court on Tuesday dismissed the application with costs.

In her ruling, Justice Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane said the court had no jurisdiction to hear the application because there was a mandatory procedure that the applicant should have followed before approaching the court.

“During arguments, the respondents who were duly represented by Mr (Salemane) Phafane KC, Mr (Shale) Shale and Mr (Tebalo) Potsane respectively, raised numerous points of law, which are as follows: that it was improper for the applicant to approach the court ex parte (without giving other parties notice); that the matter is not urgent; that the requirements of an interdict has not been met; that the applicant has no locus standi; and that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter,” she said.

Justice Chaka-Makhooane dismissed the application on the grounds that Smally Trading Company did not comply with provisions of the Public Procurement Regulations 2007 before approaching the court.

Regulation 54, sub-regulation one reads: “A tenderer, a trade association, an auditor of the government or any group with a legitimate interest in the object of the contract may submit a written complaint to the Unit not beyond three calendar months following the date of contract award and any supporting evidence shall be enclosed with the complaint.”

Sub-regulation two reads: “The Unit shall notify all tenderers about the nature of the complaint and invite tenderers who interest might be affected by a respective decision, to the complaint proceedings.”

The judge said the procedure was not followed before approaching the court and therefore ruled that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“The application is dismissed with costs,” she said.

Smally Trading Company had approached the High Court after learning on 4 April 2016 that the tender in question had been awarded on the 18 March 2016 to another party.

But the company was informed by the Ministry of Police on 7 April that the tender was awarded lawfully and that the contracts had already been concluded.

The Lesotho Times understands that Smally Trading Company is planning to appeal Justice Chaka-Makhooane’s judgement.

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