SIU probes R474m Department of Water and Sanitation IT tenders

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Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head, advocate Andy Mothibi.
Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head, advocate Andy Mothibi.
Tebogo Letsi, Gallo Images.
  • The SIU will probe four tenders issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation to technology group EOH.
  • The alleged impropriety happened between 2012 and 2017.
  • The SIU will work closely with the State Capture Inquiry to investigate these matters.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will launch an investigation into tenders worth R474 million issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation.

The investigation will focus on "the procurement, contracting and implementation of four IT contracts which were awarded by the department to technology group EOH and its subsidiaries".

In a statement on Thursday, the SIU announced that it had "been authorised to investigate" the contracts after allegations of corruption and maladministration were made.

The alleged impropriety happened between 2012 and 2017, and the SIU said it will be working closely with the State Capture Inquiry to investigate the matter.

Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu welcomed the SIU announcement that it will investigate alleged tender irregularities emanating from the awarding by her department of four tenders to technology group EOH. 

The latest developments, as announced by the SIU, are as a result of the Department of Water and Sanitation's Forensic Audit Unit, which concluded 42 investigations during the 2019/2020 financial year.

"Our resolve is to root out fraud and corruption which has, over the years, denied our people access to clean water and provision of decent sanitation. As we turn around the department, we need all the necessary support from various institutions, including law enforcement agencies. The war against fraud and corruption is a collective responsibility and can only be won if we put our hands on deck," said Sisulu.

Sisulu also used the opportunity to call on all institutions under the Department of Water and Sanitation to continue cooperating with all law enforcement agencies, including the SIU, on various investigations affecting the department.

The minister also announced that a ministerial stabilisation committee, led by former minister Susan Shabangu, had "unearthed a number of irregularities, and disciplinary hearings are currently underway".

EOH provides technology solutions to the public and private sectors, and is one of the largest technology services companies in Africa.

READ | Court dismisses application to block SIU from investigating project to build rehabilitation centre

The company has previously been in the spotlight for launching a R6.4 billion civil claim against its former executives implicated in a wide-ranging tender corruption scandal.

Through the civil claim, the company sued its co-founder and erstwhile CEO, Asher Bohbot.

In February 2019, the new EOH board appointed ENSafrica to investigate the firm's business dealings covering the period 2015 to September 2018.

The probe flagged suspicious business dealings worth R1.2 billion and found evidence of numerous governance failings, including unsubstantiated payments, as well as tender irregularities mainly linked to subsidiary EOH Mthombo.

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