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South Africa cancels much-delayed private prisons tender, reviews PPP model


Engineering News

By Terence Creamer

October 27, 2011

The South African government has officially cancelled the much-delayed public-private partnership (PPP) procurement process for four new prisons, which would have added 3 000 additional bed spaces at the Paarl, East London, Nigel and Klerksdorp correctional centres.

The procurement process was initiated in October 2003 when a transaction advisory team was appointed to study the feasibility of delivering the facilities in partnership with the private sector.

The request for qualifications were released in October 2007 and the final tender on September 30, 2008. The bids were submitted in May 2009.

However, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who took over the position in May 2009, instituted a policy and operational review, during which the bids were “not opened or evaluated” and were kept in a secure facility.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the review highlighted a number of financial and operational problems with the PPP model, including the fact that it conflicted with policy stipulating that security and custodial services of the State not be handed over the third parties.

She acknowledged that new prison capacity was still required, owing to ongoing overcrowding. But also insisted that South Africa needed to find new solutions to dealing with offenders beside incarceration.

The department had, thus, issued a tender for electronic tagging as one possible alternative and would be seeking to promote the solution within the Justice and Security clusters.

It was also interrogating other legislative provisions to help it deal with overcrowding, such as the better use of the parole systems and allowing for a greater portion of sentences to be served through community service programmes.

Additional facilities would also still be built, but the Minister offered no specifics save to say that it was a “myth” that construction jobs would be lost as a result of the cancellation of the PPP tender.

Bidders had been give the option to revise their offers to confine their involvement to construction and maintenance, but indicated that the PPP would only be attractive if they were also involved with the custodial services.

She also lambasted two existing PPP prison contracts, noting that, while the Kimberley facility had been built at a cost of R300-million, government would end up paying R1.5-billion for the capital cost of construction over a 15-year period.

Cabinet, which endorsed the cancellation, also indicated that there would be a review of PPP models across government.

Watchdog group warns of oil corruption in Liberia


Voice of America

By James Butty

A new Global Witness report says corruption is rampant in Liberia‘s oil sector even before any oil is discovered

The international watchdog group Global Witness says corruption is rampant in Liberia’s oil sector, even before any oil has been discovered.  In a report Monday, the group said government and business officials have been involved in bribery to get contracts approved.

Global Witness campaigner Natalie Ashworth said some government officials choose to “break their own laws.

There were three findings which highlight the problems.  First, we discussed evidence of the payment of lobbying fees. NOCAL, which is the National Oil Company, paid lobbying fees to the legislators to get oil contracts passed. The second is an inadequate legislative framework to protect communities and the environment and, thirdly, there is a lack of capacity by the National Oil Company and by the EPA, which is the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the environment sector,” she said.

Ashworth said the report calls on the government to investigate evidence of corruption in the oil sector.

“When it comes to the National Oil Company, we’re recommending a number of things.  One, we’re recommending that all the allegations that are in the report and in the General Auditing Commission audit of the National Oil Company need to be investigated.  We are also recommending that the power to regulate be taken away from the National Oil Company and given to a separate agency,” Ashworth said.

The report said the actions by some lawmakers to accept bribes are against Liberian laws.

“Liberia’s penal code makes specific reference to bribery, and the general auditor has deemed these lobbying fees to be bribes,” she said.

The report said Monrovia has made some promising improvements in the resource sector.  But, Ashworth said these changes have been poorly managed.

Christopher Neyor, president and CEO of the National Oil Company of Liberia, questions the timing of the global witness report, especially as Liberia prepares for next month’s presidential elections.

He said the government was already implementing some of the recommendations contained in the global witness report.

“Our position on this Global Witness report is clear. We are delighted that they have acknowledged that the president has appointed someone with a reformist agenda and they had earlier spoken with us and we had given them the outline of our agenda. So, basically, while we appreciate the input of Global Witness, just about all what they are recommending are things that we initiated and, not only initiated, we [are] implementing at the National Oil Company,” Neyor said.

He said, in a sense, the government agrees with much of the findings in the Global Witness report.

Neyor said there is nothing new about NOCAL paying members of the Liberian legislature lobbying fees to ratify oil contracts between 2006 and 2008.

“That again is nothing new; it’s been around for a while in the media. It has been debated and the debate had centered on the definition of the lobbying fee, or facilitation fee, or what you may call it.  There are some people who like to call it a bribe,” Neyor said.

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