Security boss nabbed in Hawks probe of R1.2bn govt contracts

2013-08-08 08:38

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The Hawks have arrested a security company owner for alleged fraud in an ongoing large-scale investigation into the awarding of security contracts worth R1.2 billion for government offices in Mpumalanga.

The tenders, which were awarded to 18 security companies by the Mpumalanga department of safety and security about two years ago, have drawn the attention of police following allegations that they were rigged.

Some local companies complained that the department had hired many companies from KwaZulu-Natal where head of department Thulani Sibuyi has links, but they failed in their North Gauteng High Court bid in 2011 to have the awarding of the tenders interdicted.

They also complained that the three-year tender would cost the provincial government R4.4 billion because of price inflations.

A source close to the investigation said the security company owner would appear in the Nelspruit regional court today on a charge of using a fraudulent tax clearance certificate when he applied for the tender that is worth about R4 million a month.

“We’re looking at each and every security tender that was awarded by the department. There are 18 companies that benefited,” the source said.

The owner was arrested in Nelspruit yesterday afternoon. His name is withheld as he is yet to appear in court.

Mpumalanga safety and security spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said the department was not aware of the arrest.

“As a department we understand that the tender process was done very well. However, if this case is about a fraudulent tax clearance certificate, the Hawks are better placed to explain,” Mabuza said.

At the time of the security companies' unsuccessful court bid, Sibuyi denied any wrongdoing and said he was satisfied with the evaluation, adjudication and awarding of the contracts.

At that time, Sibuyi said the department would have won the case if it had gone to court. He also denied that he had had any influence on the awarding of the tenders.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko could not immediately be reached.

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