It is no news that the P400 million Safer City project has been shrouded in controversies.The project started off as a direct appointment request which was turned down by Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB).It was then split into multiple open tenders for supplying of cameras, ICT equipment, meter boxes, and camera pole, way leave, LTE system and UAV drones. This controversy stemmed from the cancellation of all open safer city tenders and the subsequent arrangement for a selective tender; which excluded the initial 94 local bidders from bidding in the new selective tender. The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) has exonerated itself from the controversy.While responding to a questionnaire by Botswana Guardian, the PPRA Public Relations and Education Manager Charles Keikotlhae, affirmed the cancellation of The tender for the Supply, Delivery, Installation, Confirmation and Commissioning of Additional Cameras and LTE Systems to the Existing Safer City Solution for the Botswana Police Service - Tender No SERV 5/2/1 (II).The Botswana Police similarly cancelled several other tenders for supplying of cameras, ICT equipment, meter boxes, and camera poles, way leave related to the Safer City project.It was even thought in some quarters that the project was to be halted, given this abrupt cancellation. However, the regulatory authority has categorically stated that it never recommended that the re-tender be made selective.This statement was made to clear the air as to the speculated complicity of the authority in the saga. Consequent to the cancellation of the open tenders, sources revealed that the Botswana Police then re-floated a consolidatedtender. What sparked controversies in the re-tender was that it is a selective tender.The 94 small local companies that bid in the cancelled tenders were side-lined in the re-tender; while only four companies were invited.The PPRA has exonerated itself from this Safer City project controversy and noted it never recommended the selective re-tender. The laws of procurement dictate that all tenders be open by default.Selective and direct appointments require prior approval. Therefore, this implied that the selective tender was un-procedurally and unlawfully floated by the procurement oversight unit of the Ministry of Defence and Security without approval of the selective procurement method. The choice of companies for the selective tender has also raised questions. Surprisingly the only companies that bid for the LTE part tender were called for the selective re-tender.From the available document, the publication gathered that the selective re-tender and the original LTE part tender have significant disparities and are distinct. This exclusion of the initial local companies is unfair machination to subvert the commercial interests of the local companies. The local companies that were denied from the re-tender have expressed their grievances and alleged sabotage.One of the affected companies noted regrettably, "We don’t understand why police would exclude us. The economy is struggling and government should try to give business to every Motswana.“But the reality on the ground is different. This is half a billion-pula project and is being favoured to certain companies.”As evident in this statement, the small local companies that bid on the cancelled tenders suffered massive economic sabotage. Small and medium-sized companies are very critical to the economic well-being of any nation.According to World Trade Organisation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 90 per cent of the business population, 60 to 70 percent of employment and 55 percent of GDP in developed economies.These rehash the indispensability of SMEs for economic development. However, the sabotage of the local investors by the Botswana Police would have the ripple effect of disincentivising local SMEs from having faith in the public procurement procedures.Concomitantly, this sabotage might shut down some small and medium-sized companies, a situation that augurs ill for the struggling local economy.Defence Ministry and Botswana Police have failed to respond to a questionnaire sent to them a fortnight ago and follow-ups made.The Ministry Public Relations Officer Ofentse Thwabi said the questionnaire is being handled by the police. Police Public Relations Department could not commit when the response will be ready.