KZN PAYS R140m TO HAVE IN­VOICES READ

CityPress - - News - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

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.

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