Madonsela to probe Malema over tenders

2011-08-19 10:02
Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will investigate the awarding of tenders by the Limpopo government to On-Point Engineering, a company linked to ANC youth leader Julius Malema, an official said on Friday.

"She will investigate the conduct within the state entities that led to the awarding of the tenders," said Kgalelelo Masibi, a senior manager in the protector's office.

She was asked by Sapa to confirm a report that appeared in The Star newspaper on Friday, quoting Madonsela as saying: "Then there is an allegation that On-Point Engineering might have awarded tenders to itself or to its own subsidiaries or may have awarded tenders to some people in a corrupt manner."

Madonsela reportedly said that additional information had emerged from complaints about On-Point Engineering laid by opposition parties Cope and the Democratic Alliance and civil rights group Afriforum.

"Now that they have given us additional information, which was only this week, we have then assessed and decided that we can investigate," Madonsela was quoted as saying in The Star.

Protector only probes state affairs

Masibi said on Friday morning that if the protector received complaints, a preliminary investigation was first conducted to establish if there were merits to investigate further.

Masibi could not say if the probe involving the Limpopo government and On-Point Engineering was still preliminary or if the protector had already found there was enough evidence for a fully-fledged investigation.

She said it needed to be made clear that the protector investigated only state affairs, and not private companies.

"The public protector does not investigate private people but people who are entrusted with state resources."

On-Point Engineering reportedly has a contract worth more than R50m with the Limpopo government's roads and transport department to manage a project unit involved in awarding tenders to build and fix roads.

Secret trust fund

Malema is a registered director of SGL Engineering, which has allegedly benefited from tenders awarded to On-Point Engineering.

The City Press reported this month that Malema was using a secret family trust to fund his lavish lifestyle.

The Mail and Guardian reported on Friday that Lesiba Gwangwa, who is Malema's business partner and who co-owns On-Point Engineering with Malema's Ratanang Family Trust, also owned stakes in other engineering consulting firms that have won tenders in Limpopo that may be worth hundreds of millions of rands.

Last year, the public protector investigated tenders awarded to Malema's SGL Engineering.

She said her office "could not determine" whether tenders awarded to SGL by three municipalities "complied with the relevant procurement legislation and other prescripts, due to poor procurement record-keeping by the said municipalities".

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