R224m

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MPA in­ves­ti­ga­tors found that se­nior de­part­ment man­agers Gor­don Horn and Jane Mu­laudzi col­luded with Syn­tell to fraud­u­lently award it a R132 mil­lion ten­der. MPA’s re­port re­veals that early in 2014, Syn­tell sub­mit­ted an un­so­licited bid to sup­ply and main­tain the de­part­ment’s elec­tronic traf­fic sur­veil­lance and con­tra­ven­tion man­age­ment sys­tems. In June 2014, Horn and Mu­laudzi trav­elled to the com­pany’s head­quar­ters in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg for a pre­sen­ta­tion. Later that year, the de­part­ment re­quested pro­pos­als for the sup­ply and main­te­nance of traf­fic sur­veil­lance and con­tra­ven­tion man­age­ment, for which Syn­tell bid. MPA’s dossiers show the ten­der spec­i­fi­ca­tions were iden­ti­cal to those which Horn, who chaired the bid spec­i­fi­ca­tion com­mit­tee, re­ceived from Syn­tell. The re­port found: “When it was time to ini­ti­ate a ten­der... Horn used Syn­tell’s pro­posal that had been emailed to Mu­laudzi, word for word. It is ob­vi­ous that Horn and Mu­laudzi had tai­lored the spec­i­fi­ca­tion to suit Syn­tell.” Mok­aba-Phuk­wana then can­celled the ten­der. Horn re­fused to re­spond to de­tailed ques­tions, say­ing only “it seems to me that some peo­ple are try­ing to tar­nish our names.” Horn, who was charged and sus­pended, has since re­turned to work. Karen Davies, Syn­tell’s group le­gal ad­viser, said: “Our un­so­licited bid was not ac­cepted and the de­part­ment went out to ten­der. We there­fore sub­mit­ted a pro­posal, as we could of­fer the re­quired ser­vices. The de­part­ment drafted the ten­der spec­i­fi­ca­tions; pre­sum­ably they used the spec­i­fi­ca­tions set out in the un­so­licited pro­posal be­cause they wished to pro­cure these ser­vices. The de­part­ment knew we had sub­mit­ted an un­so­licited bid.” The Pi­eter­mar­itzburg visit was re­quested and paid for by the de­part­ment, she said, adding that the de­part­ment didn’t in­form them why the ten­der was with­drawn.

In 2010, the de­part­ment con­tracted To­tal Client Ser­vices, co-owned by com­pany Mve­laphanda, to man­age its traf­fic man­age­ment sys­tem. The three-year con­tract was sup­posed to cost R6 mil­lion, but doc­u­ments show that by the time the com­pany left at the end of 2015, it had been paid well over R34 mil­lion, with lit­tle work to show for it.

“The worst is that the de­part­ment had been au­tho­ris­ing pay­ment to TCS with­out proof of ser­vices ren­dered. TCS’s in­voices only in­di­cated the to­tal num­ber of trans­ac­tions done, with­out a break­down of ser­vices,” MPA’s re­port found.

“It is in­ex­pli­ca­ble how the de­part­ment spent more than R30 mil­lion on a three-year con­tract of R6 mil­lion, with­out proof of ser­vices be­ing ren­dered.”

MPA in­ves­ti­ga­tors rec­om­mended that Du Plessis be

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