The Cepep company has lost its appeal of a judge’s order that it pay a contracting company $1.9 million for money owed for work done on the Talparo Health Centre back in 2015.
In October 2019, Justice Ricky Rahim made the order as he delivered judgment in favour of Xander Contractors Ltd.
Xander Contractors claimed it was owed the money for work it did on the health centre in 2015, while the state-owned special purpose company countered that it owed nothing, since the work done was incomplete.
In his ruling, Rahim held that the alleged contract relied on by Xander Contractors was “null, void and of no effect.”
He said the evidence showed that the award of the contract was approved by the board before the company even tendered for the job.
“It follows that the tendering process that followed was a sham, designed to cover up the fact that the claimant was given preference to others in the absence of a rational basis for so doing.
“The type of behaviour employed by the defendant in that regard is not to be tolerated as it derogates from the established fair and transparent public process in the award of contracts funded by the national purse,” he said.
The Cepep Company appealed the judge’s order that it compensate the contractor for the work done on the Talparo Health Centre.
Cepep’s attorney Farai Hove Masaisai argued that the company was not “enriched” since there was no evidence the contract did any work at the health centre, and even if work was done, the company did not benefit from it since it did not own the facility.
In their ruling, Justices of Appeal Allan Mendonca, Peter Rajkumar and Maria Wilson held there was ample evidence that the contractor completed work at the health centre, including a completion certificate issued by Cepep’s project manager and stamped by the North Central Regional Health Authority, which controls the facility.
The judges also said while it was true that Cepep did not own the health centre, its chief executive officer Keith Eddy testified to there being an arrangement between the company and the Ministry of Health for the refurbishment and maintenance of district health facilities, health centres and hospitals under the NCRHA and the North West RHA, funded by the ministry under the Health Sector Initiative Programme.
The judges said it was clear that Cepep received a benefit of financial value when it received the work done by the contractor for the ministry.
Xander Contractors Ltd was represented by Dinesh Rambally, Kiel Taklalingh and Stefan Ramkissoon. Also appearing for the Cepep Company was Christopher George.