OP U-turns on Tautona Lodge Transparency Pledge

  • Morwaeng says not all information can be availed as previously promised
  • LOO says he is consulting on the way forward

TEFO PHEAGE

The Minister of Presidential Affairs Kabo Morwaeng has somersaulted on his promise to Parliament that all information relating to the controversial purchase of Tautona Lodge can be availed to whoever requests for it.

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In his letter of response sent yesterday to the Leader of the Opposition, Dumelang Saleshando’s request for information relating to the purchase, Morwaeng admitted that he may not have been forthright with Parliament.

“I have since been advised that I am not at liberty to disclose all documents due to the legal restrictions imposed by the public procurement and Asset Disposal Act. Cab 42;08. The context in which I made the statement that I had the documents and they were available for inspection must be construed within what is permissible in the confines of the law. As stated above, the PPADB Act has several restrictions on disclosure of documents relating to bids. There are requirements for documents to remain confidential except in specific situations,” he said in his written response.

Morwaeng said that Section 93 of the Act provides for information to be declassified only after two years, except in cases where disclosure would be prejudicial to the interests of the government or contractors, in which case the board shall retain such communications for a further period of two years.

“Section 85 of the Act also provides for access to documentation and data base. Subject to a fee, the Board can authorise public access of the following: a) the standardised bidding packages, forms ,national standards specifications and Annual Report and amendments thereto and (b) being database containing the- contractors register; specification provider, test and certification forms; insurance and intermodal transport operations; documentation collection and contractors prices and construction price index,” stressed Morwaeng in the letter to Saleshando.

Saleshando who had requested for all the information relating to the purchase of the lodge as promised by the Minister said he was shocked to hear that the Presidency has now somersaulted on their promise that all information will be availed.

“Morwaeng said that all documents are available and the transaction was above board. Now all the documents I requested are not available,” he told this publication. Asked on the way forward, Saleshando said he had just received the letter and needs to reflect and consult.