Monday 19 April 2021
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Gem Diamonds makes the cut

The “underdog” diamond valuator company Gem Diamonds Namibia  has secured the bid to value Namibian Diamonds for a five year period.
A high-level source at the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN) confirmed that Gem Diamonds were awarded the tender on Friday last week (9 August 2019) after a salvo of letters between Mines Minister Tom Alweendo and the Chairman of the Central Procurement Board Patrick Swartz.
Alweendo, in a letter dated 26 July demanded to know how the “Central Procurement Board awarded the contract to Gem Diamonds.”
This he queried in light of the reduction in the amount payable to Government which will be less than between N$ 60 and 80 million dollars during the contract period.
In turn, Swartz proceeded to highlight the procedure in which the contract was awarded rather than answering Alweendo’s specific question in regards the loss of income. When contacted for comment, sources at the CPB informed The Patriot that Swartz was on leave and unavailable for comment.
Since the inception of the much maligned procurement agency, this contract has been hailed as “ the single biggest bid set out for the Central Procurement Board since we started.
There was a lot of contention, a lot of in-fighting with the process was fiercely contested,” says a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
When the tender was advertised in October 2018, there was plenty of speculation that a high-level Government official was behind the bid for Gem Diamonds. A notable diamond executive, whose name is known to The Patriot is also mentioned as being behind the bid of the fairly unknown company.
According to the source, “when bid documents were submitted however, none of the names of the ones thought to have shares in the company appeared on the tender application.
I suspect their names were probably hidden and that they fielded proxies. We (at CPBN) believe that this company is owned by very highly placed Government Officials,” the source said.
The rewarding of this tender to Gem Diamonds was reviewed by a procurement review panel, who found that the appointment was proper and correct.
“As the CPBN, we are satisfied that the shareholding of the company is Namibian, in line with Section 29 of the Procurement Act no 15 of 2015, (which states that ‘A public entity may limit participation in open advertised bidding proceedings –
(a) to the citizens of Namibia; or
(b) entities incorporated in Namibia with no less than 51 percent equity that is owned by Namibian citizens of which no less than 30 percent is owned by previously disadvantaged persons, where such limitation is stated in the invitation for pre- qualification or bidding and is in accordance with the prescribed criteria’).
They are Namibian citizens as all their identity documents were provided,” said the source.
An hour before going to print, the spokesperson and lawyer for Gem Diamonds Vetu Uanivi declined to comment citing client confidentiality.

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