BUREAUCRATS must not hide behind the Public Finance Management Act as a way to stop payment for services rendered by service providers with genuine, binding contractual obligations, a National Court judge said last Friday.
Justice Bernard Sakora made this observation when hearing a court matter for mention between the National Capital District Commission and a security firm, Indies Security Services, which is claiming K8.7 million from the NCDC for services it claimed, it had rendered.
He said that no one at the bureaucrat level should question a contract awarded through normal tendering processes in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act.
“Bureaucrats in government departments and statutory bodies are giving contracts to businesses and service providers without proper checks and then coming to the courts to use the Public Finance Management Act as shield, saying that the contract was not in accordance with the Act.”
Sakora added that resorting to these actions only forced innocent service providers to exhaust their resources in their bid to provide the required services to the state and state-owned entities as per their contracts and then later face costly and lengthy legal battles to claim their payment for services rendered.
He said such circumstances as this case was affecting many businesses and ordinary citizens who were facing difficulties doing business with the government statutory organisations.
Sakora adjourned the case to tomorrow.
It was an application by the Indies Securities for a summary judgment claiming a breach of contract against the NCDC for services rendered between 2004 and 2008.
NCDC counsel Posman Kua Aisi had sought the adjournment so that they could locate an affidavit filed by Indies managing director Mathew Minape, who is represented by lawyer Alfred Manase.
Minape is stating in that affidavit that he had exhausted his resources providing security services to the NCDC without being paid.
This had forced him to file court proceedings at the middle of this year to get the NCDC to pay.