The Administrative Court has ordered the State Procurement Board to set aside the cancellation of Powertel’s fibre optic tender for lack of merit and to open the bid submitted by Huawei Technologies.
The SPB cancelled the tender for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of a dense wavelength division multiplexing solution on the pretext that all bidders had failed to meet specifications at the first stage of adjudication.
The three bidders were Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation and China Comservice.
ZTE Corporation and China Comservice were disqualified for failing on the technical and funding bid while Huawei Technologies met the two specifications but presented a Chinese tax clearance which the SPB said was out of order arguing that the Chinese firm was expected to present a valid Zimbabwean tax clearance.
In his judgement, on March 11, Administrative Court judge, Justice Herbert Mandeya said it was important to establish what a valid tax clearance in Zimbabwe was.
He said enquiries with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) revealed that it did not register foreign firms for tax clearance certificates in Zimbabwe.
Justice Mandeya said instead, Zimra insisted on compliance with Section 80 of the Income Tax Act, which provides for a 10 percent withholding tax on foreign bidders who are not registered with Zimra.
“For the above-mentioned reasons, the appeal succeeds with costs on the ordinary scale,” ruled Justice Mandeya.
He then ordered the SPB open the financial proposal submitted by Huawei Technologies within seven days.
Following the judgement, SPB principal officer, Mr Cledwyn Nyanhete wrote to bidders on March 15, advising them of the court’s order.
“The financial proposal of Huawei Technologies Company Limited will be opened on Friday 18, 2016 at 1000hrs.
“The financial proposal of the following companies shall be returned unopened for failure to meet Technical requirements of the tender; ZTE Corporation and China Comservice P/L,” said Mr Nyanhete.