KZN PAYS R140m TO HAVE INVOICES READ
The KwaZulu-Natal department of transport has paid more than R140 million to consultants to check invoices related to its R6 billion roads roll-out programme.
Although the contract was halted by the provincial treasury pending a forensic investigation, the department is set to reissue the contract to the same consulting firm in spite of recommendations that it does the work itself instead.
The contract was awarded to Moteko in 2012 after permission was obtained from the national department of transport in terms of regulation 16A to provide management support for the project.
The regulation allows the arm of government to bypass tender procedures and award a contract to a service provider based on recommendations from another government department.
In terms of the contract between the province and Moteko, which City Press has seen, the consultants were to receive 1.5% of the value of the contract to ensure that invoices by contractors were properly completed.
After a whistle-blower complained about the award, treasury commissioned a forensic audit, which found that while the process was above board, the role of checking invoices could have been carried out by the department itself.
The head of the provincial transport department, Sibusiso Gumbi, told City Press on Friday that Moteko had been retained because the department did not have the capacity to ensure the work contractors claimed was done on their invoices was indeed completed. The department will pay Moteko another R140 million for this service.
Gumbi said Moteko had already been carrying out this role for the national department and had been retained for two years. However, the contract had not been extended.
Treasury spokesperson Musa Cebisa confirmed that it had conducted the forensic investigation into the award, and found that the consultant had been appointed in accordance with regulations. He did not comment on the extension of Moteko’s services, but said it was providing “crucial support” to the department regarding managing its infrastructure budget.
“Treasury had requested that the department does not extend the contract prior to the finalisation of the investigation. The contract was therefore not extended as the investigation was still not finalised by the end of the contract period,” Cebisa said.
He said some invoices were still outstanding due to queries raised by the transport department and would be paid when “all the required information has been provided”.
“The contract with Moteko was terminated on October 31 2015 and it was paid R141 million for the service. The department’s future contracts with any potential service providers will follow government’s supply chain management processes, and this process will not be influenced by anyone, irrespective of who they are and where they come from,” Cebisa said.
Moteko’s spokesperson, Wellington Mweneziko, had not responded to detailed questions from City Press by the time of going to print.