Former RTMC boss fears for life after reporting ‘fraud’

2013-08-13 09:39

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A senior transport department official fears for his life after blowing the whistle on alleged fraud related to the billion-rand eNatis tender.

Collins Letsoalo, the former acting chief executive of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), was moved back to his previous position as chief financial officer in the transport department this past week.

This comes after Letsoalo opened a case of fraud with the Hawks in connection with the eNatis tender, which was awarded to a private company, Tasima.

In February, Letsoalo opened a case of fraud against Tasima for allegedly invoicing for work worth R12 million it didn’t do.

“This complaint relates to a claim of R12 million that was invoiced by the applicant (Tasima) for the work that it did not do,” reads an affidavit by Lestoalo.

City Press was reliably told Letsoalo is being followed, fears for his life and has even moved out of his house.

Sources close to the transport department, with knowledge of the Tasima contract, said Letsoalo’s removal from the RTMC back to his old position was aimed at protecting Tasima.

The company would be paid without questions being asked as last week the contract had been moved to RTMC, the sources say.

But department of transport spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said: “Mr Letsoalo is the chief financial officer of the department of transport and had, until this past week, been seconded to the Road Traffic Management Corporation as interim chief executive officer. There has always been an expectation that Mr Letsoalo would return to the department of transport from the time he got seconded.

“The department is responsible for managing a R42.8 billion annual budget, including allocations for its 12 entities. This therefore demands of the department to have a full-time CFO. It’s a critical function that cannot be left unoccupied for a prolonged period,” he said.

Letsoalo has been questioning the validity of the contract with Tasima since its extension in 2007 and the department’s failure to re-advertise it.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramoloko confirmed that after about five months the case was still at a sensitive stage.

“No arrests have been made and we are not sure if the investigation will require us to interact with the department,” said Ramoloko.

Last year Tasima took the department to court for allegedly failing to pay it about R118 million following the 2010 extension of the contract.

In court papers, Letsoalo said the contract with Tasima should have been re-advertised when it expired in 2007.

But instead it was agreed the contract would continue on a monthly basis. According to Letsoalo the cost to the department was R40 million per month and by March 2010 Tasima had received just over R1 billion.

In 2010 the contract was extended but this has been a point of contention since. Letsoalo said the contract was signed by someone who had no authority to do so.

Rikhotso would not comment further, saying: “The matter is a subject of ongoing court processes, therefore sub judice.”

Letsoalo could not be reached for comment.

Tasima did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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