'Zuma's Nkandla tender not transparent, unfair' - SIU investigator

2017-07-19 19:16
Jayshree Pardesi has appeared before the Nkandla disciplinary hearing in Durban. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

Jayshree Pardesi has appeared before the Nkandla disciplinary hearing in Durban. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

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Durban - The awarding of a tender to Moneymine Enterprises to commence with phase one of the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's homestead in Nkandla was not fair "because it did not allow any company to bid or supply a quotation", Christian Ledwaba, chief forensic investigator at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) testified on Wednesday.

Moneymine - a construction company reportedly preferred by Zuma - was involved in the building of the main house, surrounding rondavels, the bunker inside the main house and the perimeter fence as part of the upgrades in Nkandla.

Legwabe said the negotiation strategy applied by the regional bidder adjudication committee (RBAC) when issuing the tender to Moneymine was not fair, not equitable, not transparent and not cost effective.

"There are lots of construction companies within the database of public works except Moneymine. They never advertised the tender," said Legwabe.

He was testifying during the disciplinary hearing of national director of key accounts management at the department, Jayshree Pardesi.

READ: Hearings resume for Nkandla upgrade officials

No minutes

Pardesi is part of disciplinary hearings of 12 officials from the department accused of acting unlawfully in their roles in the R246m security upgrade of Zuma's homestead.

He said on June 15, 2010, Pardesi awarded the tender to Moneymine after the tendering process began in mid-2009.

"They had six months to advertise the tender and follow proper procedures. There was no urgency and emergency to use the negotiation strategy. They should have applied the open tender process and chosen the bidder that was cost effective. They did not compare prices," he said.

The quality of the work at the president's homestead, after the upgrades, was not satisfying, said Legwabe, who added that he came to that conclusion after the SIU visited.

He said Pardesi and the committee failed to provide the SIU with minutes of the RBAC meeting where the decision to award the tender to Moneymine was taken.

"The minutes must always be there on RBAC meetings. If there were no recordings, the scriber should have been there to take the minutes in order to review the rationality of the decision," he said.

Legwabe said when he interviewed Pardesi, she confirmed to be part of the meeting and the methodology of approving the R6.1m tender. He said negotiations began at R3m.

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Negotiation strategy

He said she also failed to give reasons why the tender was given to Moneymine.

"Her superior was not available on the day and he requested her to represent key account management," Legwabe revealed.

"I charged her with misconduct because she and RBAC failed to obtain the accounting officers approval before awarding the tender," Legwabe said.

The hearing heard that RBAC took the decision on their own.

"They did not motivate why they deviated from the procurement policies."

In her affidavit, Pardesi revealed that she was not a permanent member of RBAC, the hearing heard.

"She does not have a letter of appointment to be part of RBAC," said Legwabe.

The department's lawyer, Clement Kulati asked Legwabe to explain the situation if Pardesi claimed the negotiation strategy was part of the policies of the department.

"The negotiation strategy can be used in urgency, emergency and catastrophic events but first file with the accounting officer," he said.

When the hearings chair advocate Thulani Khuzwayo asked how Moneymine was introduced to the committee, Legwabe said that was not part of his investigation hence he did not want to "talk about hearsay".

Project manager Jean Rindel convinced members of the bidding committee to conduct a negotiation strategy process and "they agreed and approved the awarding of the tender", according to Legwabe.

The hearing will continue on Thursday.

Read more on:    siu  |  durban  |  nkandla upgrade  |  nkandla

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