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Ministry of Defence Justice and Security(MDJS)
RESPONSE TO A SUNDAY STANDARD QUESTIONAIRE
06/06/14
MDJS RESPONSE TO A SUNDAY STANDARD QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE RELOCATION OF MINISTRY HEADQUARTERS

MDJS RESPONSE TO A SUNDAY STANDARD QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE RELOCATION OF MINISTRY HEADQUARTERS

QUESTION
Our newspaper, Sunday Standard, is working on a news article surrounding the relocation of the Defence Ministry headquarters from where it currently is to an office block owned by one Seyed Jamali and his company. The information we have is that in the past the Public Procurement and Asset Disposa...l Board had advised against this on the grounds that proper procedure had not been followed.

RESPONSE
Your approach suggests, through your question, that the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security wants to relocate to an office block owned by a specific individual and not seeking to relocate because of the need to do so. This is inaccurate and unfair to so suggest. The fact of the matter is that this Ministry seeks office accommodation as driven by our immediate needs now and the projected growth. Factually our office space needs are not defined by ownership behind any property, but by evidence of availability of sufficient office space.
Indeed we can confirm that in 2013 this Ministry made a submission to the PPADB to procure office space as was defined by our needs. However the procurement was not approved by the PPADB as it was determined to be irregular in their view. They cited, in particular the fact the rental had already been negotiated by the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security (MDJS), and the lease having already been signed by the Ministry of Lands and Housing (MLH) by the time the PPADB received our submission.

Subsequent to this, remedial procurement processes were initiated by this Ministry, with full consultation and support of the Ministry of Lands and Housing. This was with a view to comply with the PPADB procedures and the MLH Guidelines for the procurement of office space. This process was initiated by first re-stating our office needs to the Ministry of Lands and Housing, who thereafter guided us along their office procurement processes and authorisations. After going step by step through all the relevant consultations, authorisations and support of the Ministry of Lands and Housing, we made our submission to the PPADB having been satisfied ourselves that we have complied with all the processes and guidelines.

However, the PPADB at its sitting of 30th May 2014 made a decision about our office space procurement submission. Their non-approval decision is clearly stated in the Botswana Daily newspaper of Tuesday 3rd June, 2014 (No 102, Page 3).

QUESTION
We want to establish first if the Ministry is still pushing ahead with the relocation to the said property.

RESPONSE
(i)It has to be noted that PPADB is the key authority in the authorisation of procurement of office space while the primary mandate for sourcing and maintaining office space database lies with the Ministry of Lands and Housing. It is the latter that availed all the information relating to Varsha Enterprise building following their response to the advertisement by the Ministry of Lands and Housing of Expression of Interest for the provision of office accommodation to the Botswana Government.

Having made known our need for a larger office to the Ministry of Lands and Housing, and having been informed by the same of the availability of the property in question the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security initiated the procurement processes, including submission to the PPADB as the said building met our immediate office space requirements and projected growth in a year’s time.

(ii) For now any progress on the matter will be put off following the PPADB decision of 30th May 2014. We have however decided that we will take back our office space needs back to the Ministry of Lands and Housing to determine the way forward.

(iii)The sentiments expressed in your question that this Ministry was ‘pushing ahead with the relocation’ to the property under discussion are unfortunate. As alluded to above we will push to have appropriate accommodation at no specific property but any property found suitable for our needs and requirements.




QUESTION
What remedial action has been taken in by the ministry in as far as it pertains to an earlier decision/advice by PPADB?.

RESPONSE
I suppose if this relates to the 2013 submission, it would have been overtaken by events as the remedial action was our 2014 request which has since been turned down by the PPADB.


QUESTION
Additionally it would be helpful to establish how much if, any the Ministry has to date spent towards partitioning or even making the said property meet the Ministry’s functionalities and customer needs?

RESPONSE
Partitioning and customisation of any building only arises after PPADB approval of the procurement of a given office block. In our case none of our requests were approved and we could not have proceeded with any partitioning or making the building suitable for our purposes. Therefore no expenditure relating to the said property has been incurred.



Samma Tabudi
……………………………..
FOR/Permanent Secretary

 

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