- Pharmaceutical companies lodge complaint to Central Medical Stores
- Masisi’s sister tight-lipped on the matter
- Her company directly awarded P13 million tender
President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s sister, Boitumelo Phadi Mmutle says she does not want to make comments on the controversial matter in which she has been directed through Monteco Solutions, a company in which she is the sole director, to procure Anti Retro Viral drugs worth P13.7 million by the Central Medical Stores (CMS).
The Botswana Gazette established that the tender has triggered a complaint from some of the competing pharmaceutical companies.
Amongst the complainants is Africure, which in a union with the others, has directed complaints to the Director of Central Medical Stores questioning the criteria used to award the tender to the President’s sister.
They want to understand how and why Monteco was preferred over them.
It emerges that CMS occasionally opts directly contract companies in cases of shortage of supply but the industry players say under normal circumstances, CMS consults all players before making decisions to directly award.
CMS has made a recommendation to the Ministerial Tender Committee to issue a waiver for the procurement of Anti- Retroviral Drugs to Mmutle’s company, Monteco Solutions at the value of P13, 747,359.90. The decision has been approved by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB.
CMS Manager, Keletso Israel said she cannot comment on the matter because she does not have information on it.
She also declined to comment on information held by The Botswana Gazette. Rather, she maintained that waivers are a common occurrence in procurement.
Asked to give her side of the story, Mmutle declined. “I do not want to make comments on that matter,” she stated.
Upon request, this publication shared with Mmutle the documents and reports tying her to the tender. She had promised to respond after perusal of the documents but later chose not to. The Ministry of Health and Wellness, Director –Health Inspectorate Setso Setso, said it is normal for ARV tenders to attract controversy.
He however says ARV tenders were not connected to COVID-19 relief programmes.
“From time to time we adjudicate over CMS but I will not be able to know how many we have adjudicated over and who they were involving,” he added.
ARV tenders have always attracted controversy. Last year, The Botswana Gazette reported that four pharmaceutical distributing companies – Portfolio Pharmaceuticals, Monteco Solutions, Africure and Lesek Group complained over the main ARVs tender accusing CMS of incompetence.
They said the awarding of the life-saving ARV drugs tender was marred with irregularities and inconsistencies. The tender dispute went to court and was eventually awarded to Pyramid company at P100 million.