Madonsela: Advance payments of R1.6 million made by IEC

2013-08-26 12:16

Advance payments amounting to R1 653 215.46 were made by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to Abland for the Riverside Office Park premises, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has found.

“Advocate (Pansy) Tlakula’s explanation that the amounts were part of a 50% deposit for the fixtures and movables forming part of the turnkey solution is not contradicted by evidence,” said Madonsela at a media briefing in Pretoria today.

Tlakula is the chairwoman of the IEC.

“It is of grave concern that this is part of the procurement that was done in contravention of the contract between Abland and the commission ... which required that the procurement of these be subjected to an open market,” said Madonsela.

She found no evidence that R22 million was paid by the commission in March 2010.

“An amount of R22 603 374.00 was approved as an amount for the fitting out budget in respect of the second addendum between the Riverside Office Park Trust and the commission. This amount was to be rentalised over the period of the lease.”

Madonsela had investigated allegations made by United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, including suspected irregularities in the procurement of the Riverside Office Park, the validity of lease agreements entered into by the commission, and various payments to Abland.

There were further allegations of a conflict of interest between Tlakula and Parliament’s finance portfolio committee chairman, Thaba Mufamadi, who is chairman of Manaka Property Investments which owns a 20% stake in Abland by virtue of their co-directorship in Lehotsa Investments (Pty) Ltd.

Madonsela said allegations about a romantic relationship between Tlakula and Mufamadi were not investigated as they were not backed by anything tangible.

She said the whistleblower employee denied the allegation when interviewed by the protector.

On request from Mufamadi, Madonsela omitted details about the alleged romantic relationship.

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