SABC in­quiry chair ac­cused of so­lic­it­ing bribe

CityPress - - News - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­

Vin­cent Smith, chair of the ad hoc com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fit­ness of the SABC board to hold of­fice, has been ac­cused of so­lic­it­ing a bribe from a busi­ness­man to fund his daugh­ter’s univer­sity fees in re­turn for his po­lit­i­cal sup­port.

In a sworn state­ment, Ge­off Greyling, CEO of SA Se­cu­rity Solutions & Technology (Sasstec), ac­cuses Smith of be­ing be­hind a Trea­sury in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether Sasstec’s sub­sidiary, In­tegritron Integrated Solutions (IIS), was fraud­u­lently awarded a R400 mil­lion ten­der by the depart­ment of cor­rec­tional ser­vices.

In the af­fi­davit, Greyling al­leges Smith so­licited a down pay­ment of £10 500 (R180 000) to be paid to a UK univer­sity for his daugh­ter as a ges­ture of “good faith”.

A fur­ther R5 mil­lion was to be paid through­out the du­ra­tion of the ten­der, Greyling al­leges, adding that when he did not pay, Smith threat­ened to have his ten­der can­celled.

This, Greyling claims, hap­pened in July 2015. When Greyling didn’t pay, Smith al­legedly wrote to Trea­sury, which be­gan its in­ves­ti­ga­tion three months later. Greyling sub­mit­ted a doc­u­ment bear­ing the ac­count de­tails of Aberys­t­wyth Univer­sity, where Smith’s daugh­ter studied, as well as the stu­dent num­ber he claims Smith gave him in July 2015.

But Smith this week said the al­le­ga­tions were false and that he con­demned them “with the con­tempt they de­served”.

“This is just to de­flect [at­ten­tion] from its court bat­tles and has no sub­stance at all. I have never com­mu­ni­cated with any of­fi­cial of Sasstec, other than re­ceiv­ing an email from a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing them. I im­me­di­ately ad­vised the lawyer to com­mu­ni­cate with the com­mit­tee and not di­rectly with me, as it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate,” he said.

The Trea­sury in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Sasstec found ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the way the pris­ons con­tract was awarded; that the com­pany lacked the ca­pac­ity and abil­ity to ex­e­cute the con­tract; and the ex­is­tence of a “fronting re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the main con­trac­tor and sub­con­trac­tor.

“The ac­count­ing of­fi­cer and mem­bers of the bid com­mit­tee failed to com­ply with cer­tain pro­vi­sions of the Pub­lic Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act, Trea­sury reg­u­la­tions, in­struc­tion notes and pref­er­en­tial pro­cure­ment reg­u­la­tions,” the re­port found.

It rec­om­mended the con­tract be can­celled, that IIS and its as­so­ciates be re­stricted from con­duct­ing busi­ness with gov­ern­ment, and that dis­ci­plinary charges be in­ves­ti­gated against mem­bers of the bid com­mit­tees and the ac­count­ing of­fi­cers.

Sasstec went to court to in­ter­dict the re­port’s im­ple­men­ta­tion, claim­ing it was not given the op­por­tu­nity to state its case to Trea­sury be­fore the re­port was fi­nalised.

Greyling has now laid crim­i­nal charges against Smith, which Hawks spokesper­son Bri­gadier Hang­wani Mu­laudzi con­firmed were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Smith de­nied promis­ing Greyling’s com­pany any po­lit­i­cal sup­port, say­ing he did not know what “po­lit­i­cal sup­port a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment can pos­si­bly pro­vide”, as ten­der ad­ju­di­ca­tion was an “in­ter­nal de­part­men­tal mat­ter”.

Smith said it was easy to prove whether any de­posits were made into his daugh­ter’s ac­count, and that he did his job as MP and com­mit­tee chair­per­son to en­sure all ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in Au­di­tor-Gen­eral re­ports were in­ter­ro­gated.

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