By JULIUS BWAHAMA, 11th April 2011
A PROSECUTION witness testified before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday that Richmond Development Company LLC did not meet the requirements for the tender floated by TANESCO to produce 100 Megawatts (MW) of electricity in the forgery case against Naeem Giire.
Mr Giire, who was the first person to be arraigned in court in connection with the Richmond scandal that led to the resignation of former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, is charged with five counts of forgery and uttering forged documents to the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) tender board, regarding the capability of the company to produce 100MW of electricity.
Mr Nicholas Suke (55), the prosecution witness and who was also TANESCO's Procurement Manager and the Tender Board Secretary in 2006 told the court that there were eight companies bidded for the TANESCO's tender, but all of them failed to meet the requirements set by the tender board.
Apart from Richmond, other companies include Gapco, Adreko, Apgum, Quantus and Recmo.
"In 2006 as the tender board secretary for Tanesco, I made a tender notice number TC/10/TC 006 of providing generators to produce 100MW of electricity which was advertised in different local newspapers.
"After taking the notice to TANESCO's tender board, it was approved and adverts made on February 2006. But out of all eight companies that submitted their bids, none managed to meet the requirements after evaluation by the special evaluation team," explained Suke.
According to Mr Suke, the evaluation team was chaired by Mr Boniface Njombe and was assisted by two consultants from Lamahya Company from Germany.
Mr Suke said that the reason why TANESCO made the tender offer was simply because of the urgent need for the country to generate more electric power following prolonged droughts at the Ruvu and Mtera dams.
He also said the companies were given 10 days to submit their tender bids instead of the legal minimum required time of 45 days because the then Minister for Energy and Minerals, Dr Ibrahim Msabaha, had ordered so, a decision that was disputed by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA).
According to Mr Suke, after the bidder had submitted the tender bid at TANESCO's head office, he was registered or his company in the registration book, after the bidders' names and tender bid documents were read for the public.
"On March 20, 2006, in the registration book, Richmond Development Company LLC was represented by two individuals called Nolen Fiim and Nizar Paka. The power company had followed all the required procedures for registration but only failed to meet the requirements to get the tender," Mr Suke told the court.
He said that the tender documents submitted at TANESCO's office by Richmond included among others a proposal form for the tender, a power of attorney, brochures for the generators, a contract with PERRA Witney Power Systems, technical specifications for the generators.
It is alleged that the accused represented his brother, Mr Mohamed Gire, chairman of the Richmond Development Company LLC, at the opening of bids and subsequent evaluation and negotiation process.
The prosecution alleged that to justify the said representation, the accused forged a power of attorney deed dated March 13, 2006, purporting to show that it was signed by his brother and authorizing the accused to perform some duties on behalf of the company in Tanzania.
Resident Magistrate Mustafa Siyani adjourned the case to today when prosecution witnesses shall continue testifying.