Anti-Corruption Commission Signals Ambiguity in Pension Fund HQs Bldg Bid


Police Commission closed the case stating that the process does not signal any corruption crime




While the Federal Police closed the case, stating no corruption was committed in the procurement process for the construction of Public Servants Social Security Agency headquarters building, the Federal Anti-Corruption Commission, however, noted that the process has some deficiencies.

Following a complaint letter lodged by one of the local prominent construction companies, Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction (TACON), the two institutions were separately investigating the case.

TACON filed its claim on March 13, 2018, stating that the Agency’s bidding document had intentionally excluded local construction companies violating the procurement law of the nation. High annual turnover, ignoring the minimum requirements for local contractors, and not specifying experience of the bidders were the points of deficiencies raised by TACON in its letter.

Established in 1993, TACON is a member of TAF Corporate Group and is currently working on mega projects, which include the construction of Yayu Fertiliser Complex. TACON filed a complaint letter to the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Agency (PPPDA), they rejected the complaint stating the Agency’s procurement processes are not managed by the PPPDA.

After a month and a half long investigation, the Anti-Corruption Commission listed four points and that the process had gaps and needed to be addressed in future procurements of the Agency. A high annual turnover requirement, unspecified technical approach methodology, overlooking the privileges for local companies and ignoring what kinds of professionals and how many are needed for the project were the gaps from the process.

In its concluding remarks, the Commission asserted that there are gaps and ambiguity in the process which have to be addressed by reconciling with the PPPDA procurement directive. In return, the Federal Police Commission Corruption Cases Division, which has been investigating the case on whether to take it to court, closed the case stating that the process does not signal any corruption crime.

Though the two bodies had been investigating the case, the Chinese firm China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic & Technical Cooperation has been working on the construction of the building. The firm ,which has been in Ethiopia for two and a half decades and executed 50 projects, won the bid for 1.97 billion Br.

The contract agreement was signed on March 16, 2017. The building will lie on a 5,000sqm plot of land adjacent to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA). The complex will have three buildings designated for the headquarters – with four basements and 19-storey and two buildings with four basements and 17-storey– which will be home for the two regional offices of the Agency.

The Agency has initially announced the bid in January 2018, and a total of 16 companies purchased a bidding document. Out of the total, three of them were local companies and the remaining were Chinese companies. TACON and Afro Tsion Construction are among the local companies which purchased the bidding document.

However, the local companies did not submit their bidding document stating that the Agency ignored the privileges that the procurement law grants them.

Out of the total contractors who purchased the bidding document, only five Chinese companies returned the document with a financial offer ranging from 1.97 billion Br to three billion Birr. The complex is expected to be finalised within 30 months.

The Agency, which was formulated as the Pension & Social Security Authority (PSSA) in 1963, currently possesses three offices at different locations. Their offices include the current headquarters, Central and Addis Abeba region office.

“We are proceeding with the construction as the comments are not about us, rather the directive of the PPPDA,” said Ayalew Duressa, the adviser to the director general of the Agency.

Representatives of TACON were not immediately available for comment.



By FASIKA TADESSE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Apr 28,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 939]


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