PM’s wife given $400K food contract


Shadel Café, a business registered to the wife of prime minister Manasseh Sogavare, has been given the lucrative contract to provide catering for Solomon Ports (SIPA).

This follows the termination of Red Cross’s contract, which had spanned one and half years from the start of 2020 to June this year.

Shadel Café is one of two catering businesses currently servicing SIPA, CEO Eranda Kotelawala told Island Sun early last month.

The other is an Asian-owned business, details of which SIPA has not been forthcoming with.

But, Madame Emmy Sogavare, the sole owner of Shadel Café according to Company Haus records, speaking to Island Sun yesterday, said there are three catering businesses servicing SIPA.

The third is unknown at this stage.

Shadel is on a six-month contract, reportedly providing 100 take-aways at $33 each five working days a week.

 This sums up to nearly $400,000 in the contract’s six-month duration.

On the outset, Sogavare stresses that there are no special or political favours involved in her business’s receipt of the state-owned enterprise’s service contract.

“There is no politics involved, to be honest. I do not know anyone working in SIPA. In fact, it was SIPA who approached Shadel Café after having tasted the nice food the Café offers.”

Sogavare said Shadel was awarded the contract to do catering for the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) commencing from July to December, 2021.

“I’ll make it clear we (Shadel Café) are same as the other cafés, to be honest there is no politics.

“We have signed a six-month contract with SIPA. The contract will finish in December 2021, the end of this year,” she said.

“Shadel café provided 100 take-aways at $33 each at first, but now at $30.”

Sogavare adds the service Shadel provides SIPA does not generate much profit as some members of public may claim.

“At $33 per plate, the revenue received is just enough to pay for the food and materials, the workers, not to mention the hard work involved since Shadel Café is only a small business.”

Shadel Café, was registered at the Company Haus on October 16, 2020 under ‘Entertainment and Catering’ as its primary business activity.

Meanwhile, few SIPA employees Island Sun had spoken to gave approval of Shadel Café.

One, who prefers to be called Mr John, said, “The menu Shadel provides consists of healthy local food, apart from the timely delivery and nice tasty food. We really appreciate it.”

Island Sun last month reported Red Cross having had their service contract ended abruptly.

CEO Kotelawala, via email [Aug 6] gave insight into why Red Cross’s contract was terminated:
“During latter part of their contract, meals were delivered late with varied standard of quality.”

Explaining the issuance of contracts to service providers, Kotelawala said:

“We have no particular choice of contracts but we look for quality and timely delivery.

“Further, we are not interested in knowing who owns these food houses. As long as they deliver what they agreed upon, they will continue till the end of their contracts. 

“We have two suppliers now and we need to give opportunities to others, not Red Cross on perpetual basis.”

Red Cross has not replied to Island Sun enquiries.

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