Sweeping probe into EduSolutions

2012-08-05 18:30
Angie Motshekga (File, Sapa)

Angie Motshekga (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Hawks and the State ­Security Agency have launched a wide-ranging investigation into ­EduSolutions, the controversial company supplying textbooks to at least four provincial education departments.

Two independent sources have confirmed to City Press that the Hawks investigation centres on how EduSolutions obtained their textbook contract in Limpopo.

City Press has also been told that the SSA is probing transactions allegedly made by Shaun Battlemann, founder of EduSolutions, ­involving millions of rands from South Africa to Dubai.

EduSolutions, whose contract to procure and supply books to Limpopo was cut earlier this year, is being investigated by three separate task teams – ­including one appointed by President Jacob ­Zuma.

The presidential task team, which is headed by deputy ­finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, called in the SSA after it received information about the ­alleged international transfer of funds, sources said.

Battlemann, the politically connected kingpin of a multibillion-rand empire called African Access Holdings, which was built largely on massive state tenders, frequently travels to ­Dubai.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela said the task team was investigating several ­departments in Limpopo.

“It’s too early to give names of government officials and ­directors of private companies who are the subject of investigations,” Polela said.

SSA spokesperson Brian Dube would not elaborate on the agency’s probe, but said: “The State Security Agency does have a mandate to work with other law enforcement agencies in fighting organised crime and corruption.”

Treasury spokesperson ­Phumza Macanda referred City Press to the presidency, which did not ­respond to requests for comment.

Battlemann, through his ­lawyer, denied that he had transferred such large amounts to Dubai, and said the allegations were not true and that City Press had been ­“misled”.

He said he was co-operating fully with representatives from the task team and added that it was “critical for government and for society to know and understand the causes of the non-delivery and delay in delivering textbooks and other material to schools in Limpopo”.

The presidential task team is working closely with the Special Investigating Unit investigating more than 20 Limpopo government officials over alleged irregularities in textbook and other educational tenders worth ­hundreds of millions of rands.

The task team is due to report back to Zuma in the next two weeks.

Its findings could result in Basic Education Minister ­Angie Motshekga being removed from office.

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