A Corruption Watch investigation has found irregularities in the awarding of a tender exceeding R13-million by the Department of Transport (DOT) to a relatively new and inexperienced company. This is one of three intensive investigations of serious acts of corruption that Corruption Watch has completed over the last four months. The two other investigations also relate to irregular public tenders involving private businesses and amounting to misuse of millions-of-rands. In this first case, Corruption Watch collected evidence that shows the Department of Transport paid R10-million more for services it could have received for less and decided on a company that had not fulfilled all the requirements of the tender process. Global Interface Consultancy won the tender to manage conference and communication services for the DOT’s Investor’s conference in June last year after submitting a bid for R13 573 708.53. One of the losing bidders, Indigo Design and Event Marketing PTY (Ltd), a BEE accredited company of long standing in the industry, had submitted a total bid price for R3 837 444.47, approximately one-quarter of the winning bid. . Indigo Design lodged a complaint with the DOT and the Public Protector. The complaint was also brought to Corruption Watch soon after the launch of the civil society organization in late January. CW’s further investigation into the DOT tender award revealed gross irregularities in the tender process. They also revealed that the controlling shareholder in the winning bidder, a Mr. Patrick Nyathi, who became a director of the company some 5
months before it was awarded the contract, is also registered as a director and shareholder of a web of companies that do business with the Department of Transport and other government entities. In fact one of the irregularities in the tender bid is the apparent failure of the winning bidder to disclose Mr. Nyathi’s other dealings with government.
All the three investigations have been handed over to the Public Protector, for further investigation and possible action. Corruption Watch is in the process of formalising a working relationship with the Public Protector. Executive director, David Lewis said: “Our main goal is to see the cases we take to the Public Protector lead to further investigation facilitated by its statutory powers and, ultimately, referral for criminal prosecution. We will closely monitor the cases that we hand over to the Public Protector and we will assist her office with further evidence and information gathered from the public.” Lewis stressed the importance of the public playing an active role in reporting
corruption. “It is the only way that Corruption Watch can succeed. The more people tell us what is happening in their communities and give us as much detail as possible, the better we are positioned to expose corruption and bring the
perpetrators to book. It should be stressed that this case and each of the serious acts of corruption that we are investigating were reported by alert members of the public.”