Top cops probed for tender fraud

2011-11-19 17:49

A high-level investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has so far linked 115 senior police managers to tenders awarded by the police service.

The probe which was authorised by President Jacob Zuma last year has also identified 215 instances of “possible” conflict of interest in the awarding of tenders by police senior manage-ment.

The tenders form part of contracts worth an estimated R3 billion under review by the unit. SIU spokesperson Marika Muller said some of the 115 police officials were directors or shareholders in companies which were paid up to R50 million by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for various services.

The unit has fingered the SAPS’ procurement unit for fronting and using “fraudulent” tax clearance certificates submitted by companies awarded tenders.

Widespread irregularities in the building and maintenance of 33 police stations has also been uncovered, where senior police managers “deliberately manipulated” supply chain management processes to favour certain companies.

In some cases no tender processes were followed at all, despite treasury regulations requiring that all contracts above R500 000 be put through a tender adjudication process.

The probe is scheduled to be concluded in 2013 and a final report will be handed to Zuma and Parliament, said Muller.

The SIU had found that the initial budgets for the construction and maintenance of the 33 police stations were exceeded and that prescribed tender processes were not followed.

In the procurement contracts, worth R3 billion, the SIU found that prices in tender documents were manually altered and at least one senior member, serving on the SAPS bid evaluation committee (BEC) that administers all police tenders, had not disclosed links to a company that won a tender.

“More widely, many BEC members did not complete the required disclosure forms,” said Muller.

While names of police managers fingered in the probe have not been released, the unit said it was working with the Hawks to finalise criminal investigations that would be brought against various officials.

Disciplinary steps had also been instituted against various managers. This followed interviews with more than 100 police officers, former and current police managers as well as service providers, said Muller.

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