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Govt cancels fertiliser tender after rumours of bribe, asks participants to seek refund for deposits


Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary, Green Mbozi, has announced the cancellation of a fertiliser tender.

This comes barely weeks after the cancellation of an open tender that had attracted the participation of 44 companies but had seen the figures pruned to 13 after alleged government intervention.

Early last month, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) cancelled an open tender for the supply and delivery of 120,380.25 metric tonnes of urea fertiliser for the 2023/2024 farming season which was within days reinstated with a single-sourcing tender that only saw the number of bidders reduced to 13 from the original 44.

The tender was then cancelled following revelations that the most expensive bidder had become the most preferred because of generous kickbacks that were offered to persons who are highly politically influential.

However, the cancelled tender was to be reinstated, only this time as a direct bid closed to 13 participants.

Mbozi, however on Tuesday, announced the cancellation of the tender and pledged to refund the selected bidders their participation fee.

Read more: National Democratic Congress alleges high level corruption in Agric Ministry

He said in his notification to the selected bidders that in a meeting held on September 1, 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture Procurement Committee decided to cancel the reinstated tender in line with section 69 of the Public Procurement Act.

Mbozi’s letter to the bidders was captioned: “Notification of cancellation of tender for the supply, delivery, warehousing and distribution of 120, 380.25 metric tonnes of Urea Fertiliser for the 2023/2024 farming season under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) – No: MoA/FISP/G/LB/02/2023.

“This letter serves to inform you that at its meeting held on September 1, 2023, the Ministry Procurement Committee cancelled the above-mentioned tender in which you participated in accordance with Section 69, Subsection (1) (f) of the Public Procurement Act No 8 of 2020. The participation fee will be refunded to all bidders in accordance with section 25 (4) (a) (b) of the Procurement Regulations, 2022.”

He explained that according to the procurement law, a procuring entity could at any time but prior to notification of contract award, terminate or cancel procurement proceedings without entering into a contract if it was in public interest.

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