Unik Construction’s P70 million payments from NPF

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  • Projects incomplete
  • Unik has enjoyed lucrative tenders, albeit controversially


Investigations by The Botswana Gazette have established that Chinese construction firm, Unik Constructions has been paid almost P70 million for a construction tender it was awarded under unclear circumstances in the ongoing National Petroleum Fund (NPF) projects.

The NPF was established under the NPF Order and subsequently administered under the Finance Act. The role of the NPF is to provide funding for the construction and management of fuel storage facilities, procure petroleum products as well as to stabilize fuel pricing.

Under its mandate, Basis Points Capital, a company owned by embattled asset manager, Bakang Seretse was involved in the P300 million construction of the much-anticipated 160 million-litre Tshele Hills oil storage facility in Kgatleng, a long term government project.

This publication has transaction records which reveal that Unik was paid a staggering P52 058 079 from NPF funds for the construction of Tshele Hills Fuel Storage Facilities. The money was deposited on the 21st of September 2017 and prior to that payment P8 228 450 was paid to Unik Construction on 11th of July 2017 for the Tshele Hills construction. This was before the first payment of P6 980 696 was paid to Unik Construction on the 12 May 2017, which was for the construction of access roads to Tshele Hills, which was constructed over the railway bridge.

From the NPF transactions alone, the Chinese construction firm benefitted P67 367 255, according to documents that were presented before Parliamentary Accountancy Committee earlier this year.

Unik itself has previously benefitted from lucrative tenders that have been mostly direct appointments. The Chinese owned Botswana construction company with a history of having the upper hand over other bidders, Unik Construction, has been awarded about four major contracts.

The latest Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) tender awards will see the company undertake four multimillion-pula construction tenders. Information gathered by this publication is that the Tshimoyapula-Serule Road, which is valued at P400 million, and the Maun water reticulation project valued at P1.5 billion, will see a joint venture of Unik Construction and another Chinese owned company China Jiangsu undertake the projects.

Two other projects linked to the Chinese are the P885 million Mmamashia Water Treatment Plant Expansion that has been awarded to a joint venture with China Jiangsu and 3 Interchanges (Game City and BTV circles) amounting to P44.2 million. This is a joint venture with Zhong Ghan.

In July 2016, the company won a multi-million mega tender to construct a 90 kilometre (km) gravel road and drainage systems in Eastern Pandamatenga to the tune of P180 million. “The drainage systems will comprise about 100km of open drain excavation of about 1.2 million cubic metres. The construction, which is part of the Pandamatenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development Project, is being financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and is scheduled to take 24 months.”

Information from Unik Construction Engineering (Pty) Ltd website reveals that it was incorporated in Botswana in 1996.  The company has been at the helm of local construction for over 20 years and undertakes some of government’s largest projects. “The annual turnover of the company has also increased from 100 000 dollars in initial period to 100 million dollars now. While maintaining steady growth locally, the company has expanded its business into Lesotho, Zambia and some other Southern African countries,’’ reads the available information on their website